Beer, Exmouth, Seaton, and Sidmouth Town beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag award. 

Budleigh Salterton has also been awarded a Seaside Award. The award means the beaches have met the high standard required.

Exmouth has now achieved Blue Flag status for six years in a row, while this is the fifth year for Sidmouth, the third for Seaton, and the second for Beer.

There has been criticism across East Devon from swimming groups not being able to enter the water after sewage spills from South West Water.

Exmouth swimmer Jo Bateman is claiming compensation from South West Water over lost swimming hours due to sewage pollution. Read more: Jo Bateman takes legal action against South West Water

Responding to the legal action against South West Water, a spokesman said at the time "We take our responsibility to the environment very seriously and are investing record amounts to reduce the use of permitted storm overflows across the region, including circa £38 million earmarked for Exmouth up to 2030.”

Councillor Geoff Jung said: "Our beaches are very much appreciated both by our residents and our visitors. Although they seem naturally beautiful, these locations actually require a lot of hard work by our staff, our partners, businesses, and dedicated volunteers. Retaining our Blue Flags is a credit to them and I would like to thank them for their continuing work."

Figures from the environment agency show that sewage was spilled into the sea for 530,737 hours.  Read more: Sewage spills from storm overflows in the South West in 2023

Pete Blyth, EDDC's beach safety officer, said: “We are very pleased that our beaches have once again met this prestigious national benchmark, showing that they are safe and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike to enjoy."

Allison Ogden-Newton from Keep Britain Tidy said: “These awards are a credit to the collective efforts of beach managers, volunteers, residents and businesses who have worked tirelessly to maintain, protect and improve some of our best-loved and most popular beaches and we’d like to take this moment to recognise and applaud them."

“Visitors to a beach flying a Blue Flag can be assured the beach will be clean, safe and meet the highest environmental standards, as well as international bathing water quality standards."

“The Blue Flag is the world’s most recognised award for beaches and marinas and, to qualify, each applicant must meet and maintain a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria."

“Seaside Awards are presented to the best beaches in England and celebrate the quality and diversity of our coastline.”