BURNHAM beach has been given a national award for being tidy – just weeks after receiving a mediocre rating for the quality of its water.

Keep Britain Tidy has handed Seaside Awards to the beaches at Burnham and Berrow. The awards are given to the most attractive, clean and safe beaches across the country.

The news will come as a huge boost to Burnham, in particular, after the town was told its beach would be ranked as ‘poor’ under the new EU Bathing Directive, as the Weekly News reported last month.

Set to be introduced in 2015, the directive would mean signs would be put up advising people not to go into the sea due to the amount of pollution.

Burnham was one of just a handful in the South-West to be ranked as ‘mandatory’ in the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide 2014, meaning it is only meeting the minimum water quality requirements and is one score above a ‘fail’.

Burnham Mayor Martin Cox Cox said: “The water quality has deteriorated.

“We discussed it at the last council meeting and we are going to apply pressure on numerous people about it.

“We have asked MEPs for grants from the EU towards improving water quality and the Government on improving the water.

“They have spent a lot of money on Weston beach.

“We are not going to take it lying down because it’s a really good beach.”

Cllr Cox said the Seaside Award was a sign the beach itself was kept to a very high quality.

He said: “We have the award for keeping it tidy in the summer. It’s not everybody who goes swimming and there are quite a few activities you can do on the beach.”

Cllr Peter Downing, chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, raised the Seaside Award flag over the beach on Tuesday.

District council spokesman Sam Taylor said: “While Seaside Award beaches can be vastly different, the flag is a symbol of quality which ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch.

“At a time when more and more people are choosing to holiday at home, the rapid growth of visitors enjoying our delightful and dramatic coastline has highlighted not only the demand but the importance in presenting and retaining clean, attractive and well-managed beaches.”