Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council won 10 Blue Flag Awards and two Seaside Awards at a recent ceremony celebrating excellent management of local coasts and waterways.
Four of the area’s Marinas located at Ballycastle, Coleraine, Portrush Harbour and Rathlin Island were among the locations to achieve recognition at the annual Beach and Marina Awards for their operators’ work in meeting stringent international and UK standards around water quality, education, safety and accessibility.
Members of the council attended a presentation at Ballygally Castle Hotel on May 18th to receive their accolades, which are managed in Northern Ireland by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
The area’s winning locations are listed below.
Blue Flag Award Beaches: Benone Strand, Castlerock Beach, Downhill Strand, Portrush East Strand, Portrush West Strand, Whiterocks
Blue Flag Award Marinas: Ballycastle Marina, Coleraine Marina, Portrush Harbour and Marina, Rathlin Marina.
Seaside Awards winners: Ballycastle Beach, Waterfoot Beach.
The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ashleen Schenning commented: “This endorsement is hugely encouraging as we prepare for another busy summer season across our beautiful coastline. We now have four marinas demonstrating the highest level of good practice which is a very welcome achievement.
"Ballycastle Marina has been a long-time holder of a Blue Flag and we are very pleased that it is now joined by three of our other facilities, creating a valuable network for our customers which adhere to the highest environmental standards.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our harbour users and boat owners for their co-operation and contribution to our Blue Flag success.
“Our beaches have also performed exceptionally well, and it is especially pleasing to see Portrush’s East Strand among the winners once again. They are a highly valued natural amenity and the awards help set a benchmark to allow them to be assessed and managed to the appropriate standard, which gives greater confidence to those who come to enjoy them about water quality and safety.”
Rachel Vaughan, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’ s Local Environmental Quality Manager said: “Our aquatic areas are vital resources for supporting marine life, human mental and physical wellbeing and a source of great pride for many. We thank and congratulate the team at Causeway Coast and Glens who put in the hard work and dedication to ensure that they remain of a world-class calibre.”
Causeway Coast and Glens earned their prestigious prize after successfully convincing a jury panel that their application demonstrated the required quality thresholds. Awards apply from June to the end of September, to coincide with the beach season, and need renewed each year.
Members of the public are invited to enjoy the award-winning amenities at each site, which are designated bathing waters that have the highest water-quality standards and excellent facilities, making them ideal coastal destinations.
The Blue Flag Award is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a worldwide environmental organisation that also oversees the Eco-Schools, Learning About Forests and Young Reporters for the Environment programmes.