The tough financial situation at Cornwall Council has been blamed for the loss of 'Blue Flags' at Cornish beaches just as the holiday season gets underway.

The authority says that the symbols of cleanliness, quality facilities and water quality will not flutter over Polzeath, Porthtowan and Gyllyngvase as it has to pay to apply to the scheme, and it does not have the cash.

The flags that flew over Polzeath, Porthtowan and Gyllyngvase will be replaced with a cheaper "Seaside Award" alternative.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "Cornwall Council, like other beach owners, has to pay to apply for Blue Flag status; consequently, we will not be applying for the Blue Flag this season on any of the sites that formerly used to have the award.

"We will be replacing the Blue Flag with a Seaside Award on these sites for the forthcoming season. It is however important to reassure beach users that we will not be reducing standards of service on any of our beaches and will strive, as always, to keep them clean, safe and healthy."