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Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is delighted to announce that 26 beaches and marinas across the country have achieved standards of excellence at their annual Beach and Marina Awards. The focus of this years’ event is to celebrate Northern Ireland’s stunning array of blue spaces and raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy marine environment and the positive connection between the outdoors and our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Beach and Marina Awards are internationally recognised awards that highlight how Northern Ireland’s blue spaces are something to take pride in, look after and enjoy; with the awards also giving an opportunity to celebrate those key workers who maintain our local beaches and marinas to such high standards.

The internationally renowned Blue Flag will be flown at eight of Northern Ireland’s beaches and six marinas during the 2021 season. The Blue Flag award is certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and has 49 participating countries globally. Northern Ireland’s 14 blue space locations will join the 4,820 beaches, marinas or boats that proudly fly the Blue Flag around the world. Beach and marina operators receiving a Blue Flag are demonstrating their commitment to protecting the coastal environment, excellent water quality, water safety, and providing access for all, along with providing engaging educational activities on-site.

The Seaside Award and Green Coast Award are national standards for beaches in Northern Ireland, these programmes ensure visitors of a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed beach with the facilities provided being appropriate for the location of the beach. One beach has received the Green Coast Award and eleven beaches have received the Seaside Award in 2021.

The Award Flags may only be flown if all the criteria are successfully met at time of application, with standards maintained throughout the entirety of the bathing season.

Northern Ireland’s coastline has numerous iconic sights, and many of our award-winning beaches include, or are next to, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with specially protected habitats and species forming a large part of the experience visitors enjoy. The aim of these award programmes is to improve the connection between people and their surroundings by encouraging them to spend time in and learn more about their coastal environment. Many award-winning beaches and marinas provide information points to showcase the best of Northern Ireland’s wildlife and provide visitors with information on how they can enjoy these natural wonders without disturbing or damaging them.

Information on the award-winning blue spaces can be found at www.beachni.com and www.liveherelovehere.app.

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said “The past year has restricted our ability to travel and meet people. Yet, we are fortunate to have such great local blue spaces right on our doorstep. All of us can be rightly proud of this beautiful place we call home. Behind every one of these special places are dedicated key workers whose effort all year round keeps these blue spaces in such excellent condition. These awards are a small way of saying thank you and recognising that we have so much to be proud of in our community”.

For media enquiries contact:

Ian Humphreys, CEO Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Email: ian.humphreys@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

Note to Editor

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Seaside Award

Ballywalter Beach

Groomsport Beach

Millisle Beach

Cloughey Beach

Boatfolk Marinas

Blue Flag

Bangor Marina

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Blue Flag

Benone Beach

Downhill Beach

Castlerock Beach

Portrush West Strand

Whiterocks Beach

Ballycastle Marina

Seaside Award

Ballycastle Beach

Portrush East Strand

Waterfoot Beach

Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Seaside Award

Crawfordsburn Beach

Green Coast Award

Helen’s Bay Beach

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Blue Flag

Carrickfergus Marina

Glenarm Marina

Portglenone Marina

Seaside Award

Ballygally Beach

Brown’s Bay

Carnlough Beach

Mid Ulster District Council

Blue Flag

Ballyronan Marina

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Blue Flag

Cranfield West Beach

Murlough Beach

Tyrella Beach