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European Blue Flag for beach quality

Last modified: 2005-08-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: blue flag | blue pennant | beach quality | foundation for environmental education in europe |
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[European Blue Flag]by Jorge Candeias & Ivan Sache

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The European Blue Flag program

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of Member organisations representing 25 European countries.

The program of the European Blue Flag has been working since 15 years.

The countries participating to the program are:

Belgium | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | | Lituania | Netherlands | Norway | Portugal | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sweden | Turkey | United Kingdom

More than 2,400 beaches and marinas are now participating in the Programe.

Iceland, Romania, Morocco, Montenegro and the Caribbean are working on establishing the Blue Flag Campaign.

Santiago Tazon & Jan Mertens, 19 June 2003

The Blue Flag

The Blue Flag is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE).
The Blue Flag is a widely recognised eco-label. This is awarded to beaches and marinas where environmental protection is a high priority in site management and information encourages care for the environment.

The award of the Blue Flag is presently based on 27 specific criteria for beaches and 16 specific criteria for marinas. Though the specific requirements are different for the two types of sites, they cover the same four aspects:

  • Water Quality
  • Environmental Education and Information
  • Environmental Management
  • Safety and Services

Some criteria are imperative whereas other are guideline criteria.

All Blue Flags are only awarded for one season at a time. By renewing the award each season the Campaign ensures that the beaches and marinas are constantly living up to the criteria. If some of the imperative criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag will be withdrawn.

Pascal Gross, 14 August 2000

Note that the flag, as the example shown on the top of this page (after a picture published in 20 Minutes, French edition, on 12 May 2002) should have inscribed in white characters in the canton the year for which it was granted and in the lower hoist the acronym Feee and copyright sign. That is because the flag is granted for one year only, and the next year the competition starts anew.

In Croatia the year is written with a dot after the year (e.g. 2002.), which is the grammatical proper form in Croatian.

Only the flags that are really hoisted on the beaches and other appropriate sites contain the year and acronym. Small table flags seen in hotel receptions and such places, as well as most of the promotional posters explaining the flag, do not contain those numbers/acronym.

Željko Heimer, 22 May 2002

The Blue Pennant

Starting 2003, individual boat owners can earn a Blue Pennant. First in Belgium is Ms. Elisabeth Lemmens of the Antwerp Willemdok yacht harbour. I saw this pennant very briefly on tv news. A Blue Flag costs 125 euros whereas a Blue Pennant costs 8 euros.

Jan Mertens, 19 June 2003