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Queen’s University Belfast is one of 76 locations to achieve the Green Flag Award. The Lanyon site at Queen’s, which also achieved a Green Heritage Site Accreditation, is the first university in Northern Ireland to be recognised by the scheme.

Today, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the environmental charity that runs the scheme in Northern Ireland, revealed an ever growing and diverse number of free to enjoy places that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces and is growing from strength to strength in Northern Ireland, increasing from three sites since programme inception in 2008.

Queen’s University provided the perfect backdrop to this year’s annual awards event where a record 76 Green Flag awards were presented.

Parks and open spaces wishing to achieve Green Flag status must have a site management plan in place and be able to demonstrate they comply with a range of strict criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management, biodiversity, community involvement and safety standards. The Awards are judged annually by a panel of experts, who volunteer their time to assess the management plans and the applicant sites through a rigorous judging process.

For the 2019/20 season, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful saw a continued increase in public parks, gardens, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces meeting the demanding standards.

Queen’s University was one of six first-time winners this year across all participating organisations including: Brownstown Park and Gosford Forest Park in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Randalstown Riverside Walk in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Drumglass Park in Belfast City Council and Warrenpoint Municipal Park in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

Joanne Clague, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer of Queen’s University said: “I am very pleased that Queen’s University Belfast is the first university in Northern Ireland to have achieved a Green Flag Award. The University has put significant efforts into creating, and maintaining, a high standard public green space for our staff, students, local community and visitors. We are delighted to have been recognised in this way.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also celebrates The Green Flag Community Award, where the sites are managed and maintained by loyal volunteers working at a local level. This year Sentry Hill Community Garden received their first Green Flag Community Award alongside Ballyeaston Church Ruin, Rathfern Activity Centre, Sentry Hill Community Garden and Toome Linear Park.

Queen’s University Belfast and Brooke Park in Derry and Strabane achieved their first Green Heritage Award along with Antrim Castle Gardens, Belfast Botanic Gardens and Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre; these sites celebrate and promote elements of their heritage that make their site unique.

There are now more places than ever for the public to enjoy free high quality outdoor spaces in Northern Ireland.

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

“It is time once again to celebrate a record number of Green Flag Awards meaning more spaces than ever before offering wonderful experiences for visitors throughout the year. I also want to thank the staff who give their all to maintain these spaces to such high standards for us to enjoy.

As all of us (and young people particularly) become glued to our phones and tablets these fantastic green spaces offer some of the closest and most accessible opportunities to explore and connect to nature. Where better to learn about our reliance on the natural world? Where better to spend quality time with friends and family? Where better to relax away from all the busy-ness of life? Come to think of it I am heading outside…”

If you are interested in finding out further information about the Green Flag Award or other programmes run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful please e-mail us on enquiries@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org call us on 028 9073 6920 or check out our website www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.

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