Three local beaches have received national awards for water quality in the prestigious Seaside and Blue Flag Awards.
Brown’s Bay, Carnlough beach and Ballygally beach were each honoured with a Seaside Award, which recognises resort and rural beaches with good water quality.
Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful administers the awards locally. Chief Executive Ian Humphreys praised the efforts of beach operators who contended with a huge influx of visitors in the summer of 2013, as well as the winter storms which wreaked havoc along the coastline. He stated: “That so many beaches are again receiving awards reflects the hard work of individuals who strive to serve the public by providing the very best facilities and experiences, not just in the bathing season, but throughout the entire year.”
Environment Mark H Durkan hailed the success, declaring: “Our beaches are some of the most spectacular anywhere in the world.”
and are one of Northern Ireland’s best assets.
“A lot has been done so far to achieve this, and through my Good Beach Summits we are continuing to work with Northern Ireland Water and others to continue to drive these improvements. However, Seaside and Blue Flag Awards are not just about water quality. Today is testament to the excellent work carried out by coastal councils and the National Trust in providing clean, safe, well-managed beach facilities for visitors.
“We need to continue to work hard at changing public attitudes and tackle the scourge of beach litter.
“Our beaches are a significant tourist attraction and the Seaside and Blue Flag Awards are a signpost to the public of excellent environmental standards.”