HOLIDAYMAKERS are being urged to continue to choose British resorts after nine local beaches retained their right to fly coveted Blue Flags.

Keep Britain Tidy has announced that four beaches in Bournemouth, four in Poole and one in Swanage have passed stringent tests to win the international accolade.

In Bournemouth, Alum Chine, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk and Southbourne retained their flags while in Poole Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs Chine, Sandbanks and Shore Road shared the honours.

All the award-winning stretches of sand impressed inspectors who rated water and beach cleanliness, facilities, litter and access facilities. The ninth local award-winning beach is Swanage Central.

Quality Coast awards went to Boscombe Pier for the first time, Bournemouth Pier, Swanage Central and Friars Cliff near Christchurch.

One hundred and fifty beaches across England received Blue Flags and Quality Coast awards with Torbay and the Isle of Wight heading the roll of honour.

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Phil Barton said: “As more and more people decide to swap trips abroad for the convenience of holidays at home, they are discovering a renewed love for our glorious coastline and quality resorts.

“Our beaches are fabulous and that’s official. These awards prove our beach managers are continuing to work hard to provide clean and safe beaches for everyone to enjoy.”

Bournemouth’s director of tourism Mark Smith said: “Blue Flag awards are a great endorsement of the quality of our beaches.”

Cllr Peter Adams, Poole council’s cabinet portfolio holder for culture and leisure, said: “We are thrilled Poole’s beaches are continuing to achieve this award year after year.”

Swanage tourist information centre supervisor Carolyn Hooper saud: “Swanage town council is pleased to announce that it has been awarded both Quality Coast and Blue Flag awards for the ninth consecutive year.”

Cllr John Lofts, portfolio holder for protecting the environment at Christchurch council, said: “We’re very proud to have won this top award for Friars Cliff.”