One of Pembrokeshire’s most popular beaches has lost its prestigious Blue Flag because of new stringent bathing water quality standards.

Tenby’s Castle Beach marginally failed to meet the conditions for water quality, which is amongst the criteria for the awards.

The reason for the failure is under investigation by Natural Resources Wales.

“While still achieving the high standards required in all other criteria, Castle Beach narrowly missed this high classification, and as such was unable to apply for a Blue Flag,” said Keep Wales Tidy’s senior coast officer, Zoe Abbott, this week.

“This does not exclude the beach applying for one next year should the water quality be classified as ‘excellent’.”

The Blue Flag’s water quality classification is now in line with the revised European bathing water directive, which does not come in to full force in Wales until next year. It also uses data from the previous four years.

Castle Beach is at the end of Tenby’s South Beach, which was amongst 10 in Pembrokeshire to retain its Blue Flag. The others were Amroth, Broadhaven Central, Coppet Hall, Dale, Lydstep, Newgale, Tenby North, Whitesands and Saundersfoot.

Pembrokeshire scooped the highest number of Green Coast awards for ’hidden gem’ beaches, thanks to Abereiddy, Barafundle, Broadhaven South, Cwm yr Eglwys, Druidstone Haven, Freshwater East. Manorbier, Marloes, Martin’s Haven, Priory Bay on Caldey Island and West Dale.

Councillor Elwyn Morse, Pembrokeshire County Council's cabinet member for sport, culture and leisure, said he was delighted that so many beaches in Pembrokeshire had achieved Blue Flag status.

“We have many beautiful beaches in Pembrokeshire, and the Blue Flags – and the other beach awards received every year - confirm that they are of the very highest quality. They are also recognition of all the hard work that we, and other agencies, have done to achieve this," he commented. “Even though some beaches in Pembrokeshire were affected by the storms this winter, they have recovered dramatically and to achieve this number of Blue Flags is a wonderful accolade.”

*More coastal accolades are expected to be upcoming for Pembrokeshire when the Seaside Awards are announced in Wales on Thursday.