Sunday 17 December 2017 01:52:06 PM

Down Beaches Receive Blue Flag Recognition
More Storms Ahead For Dundrum Sea Wall June 6, 2013| Posted by | Comment on More Storms Ahead For Dundrum Sea Wall Comment

Down Blue Flag (L-R): Lynsey McCloskey, Campaign Manager, TIDY Northern Ireland; Cllr Michael Coogan; Simon Boyle, Warden, Down District Council; David Thompson, Coast and Countryside Manager, Murlough Beach, The National Trust; Environment Minister Alex Attwood; Michael Lipsett, Director of Recreation, Down District Council; Margaret Ritchie, MP for South Down; Conal Stewart, Northern Ireland Tourist Board & Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, TIDY Northern Ireland

Down Blue Flag (L-R): Lynsey McCloskey, Campaign Manager, TIDY Northern Ireland; Cllr Michael Coogan; Simon Boyle, Warden, Down District Council; David Thompson, Coast and Countryside Manager, Murlough Beach, The National Trust; Environment Minister Alex Attwood; Michael Lipsett, Director of Recreation, Down District Council; Margaret Ritchie, South Down MP; Conal Stewart, Northern Ireland Tourist Board & Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, TIDY Northern Ireland

DOWN’s beaches have received  Blue Flag recognition which will boost tourism coming up to the busy seaside season.

Our beaches provide the perfect place for a fun day out, and awarding body TIDY Northern Ireland, in association with Northern Ireland Tourist Board has announced that eighteen beaches and two marinas received awards for meeting tough quality standards.

So, with the weather finally hotting up for summer, TIDY Northern Ireland is urging people to take a trip to an award winning beach and dip a toe in the sea or have a picnic. To help everyone find out where their nearest award winning beach or marina is TIDY Northern Ireland launched a special map at this event, which will be available online, via all Tourist Board Information Visitor Centres and at local beaches.

The highly prized UK wide rural and resort Seaside Awards have successfully expanded into England. Now in its fifth year in Northern Ireland, eight resort beaches and seven rural Seaside Awards were presented to beaches that met high standards. The international Blue Flag Award was presented to six beaches and two marinas with both Portstewart and Whiterocks celebrating their tenth anniversaries in the programme.

Resort beaches must meet thirty criteria, including good bathing water quality as set by the EU Bathing Water Directive. The Blue Flag Award operates in a similar manner including meeting the Excellent EU standards for bathing water. Rural beaches must meet 15 criteria, including good bathing water quality. The awards were presented on Tyrella Beach Co. Down and ice-cream for the awards event was kindly supplied by Mauds Ice-Cream.

Presenting the awards Environment Minister, Alex Attwood said:  “Seaside and Blue Flag Awards demonstrate the commitment of our coastal councils and the National Trust to providing clean, safe, well managed beach facilities for all of our coastal visitors.  We have some of the most spectacular beaches anywhere in the world and these awards mark them out as first class family destinations.

“Two years ago I initiated a programme of good beach summits to help improve standards around our coast.  There is still much work to be done, especially around changing public attitudes to littering.  However, progress is being made and I trust that next year even more beaches and marinas will apply for these awards.”

Stephen Finlay, Director of Corporate Development, Northern Ireland Tourist Board said: “NITB is delighted to be the sponsor of the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards 2013. Every year, visitors come to Northern Ireland to enjoy our stunning coastline.  Some come to catch a few crashing Atlantic waves on their surfboards, others to cycle the scenic coastal routes and others simply to drink in the views. The safety and cleanliness of our beaches is therefore very important in attracting visitors. We will be encouraging our visitors to kick off their shoes, walk down to the water’s edge and enjoy our fresh waters and warm welcome at one of our 18 award winning beaches!.”

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of TIDY Northern Ireland, has welcomed the  announcements that see 18 beaches and 2 marinas receiving awards for excellence.  He said:  “Thanks to the hard work of all our beach operators these are the beaches where you know exactly what you will get in terms of safety, services, information and of course bathing water quality.  Whether a beach is flying the Seaside Award Flag or Blue Flag these beaches offer a wonderful experience for local people and visitors alike. And of course the same applies to our marinas.

“Even more beaches this year would be flying Blue Flags but for the fact that the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) has brought forward new standards on water quality two years ahead of schedule and went on to say that water quality at these beaches remains as good as ever.”

Former Chairperson of Down District Council, Councillor Michael Coogan said: “To receive these international awards of excellence shows that both Tyrella and Murlough Beaches are clean, safe, easily accessible and a great place to come on holiday. They boast wonderful stretches of sand which attract many, many visitors and locals each year.”

“I am delighted that Tyrella and Murlough Beaches have once again received the Blue Flag Awards recognising all the hard work by everybody committed to making our beach venues attractions we can all be proud of.  To have received the Blue Flag award for Tyrella Beach for 16 years in succession and in partnership with the National Trust to have attained for three consecutive years the nationwide award for  Murlough Beach is a considerable achievement and I hope will encourage more people to come and experience Down district’s ‘jewels in the crown’ for themselves.”

If you are interested in assisting with beach clean-ups or indeed river and lough clean-ups, or want to recognise someone who has made a real difference through their voluntary work in this area please contact Patricia Magee, National Coastal Officer, TIDY Northern Ireland 028 9073 6924 or [email protected]

TIDY Northern Ireland also hosts Coast Care Week 20th – 28th July 2013 in association with Coca Cola with fun, family based events going on all over Northern Ireland and an annual photography competition with cash prizes; please see www.tidynorthernireland.org for further details.

Northern Ireland Seaside Award Beaches 2013

Downhill (R)

Londonderry

Coleraine Borough Council

Castlerock (R)

Londonderry

Coleraine Borough Council

Portstewart (R)

Londonderry

The National Trust

Portrush East (R)

Antrim

Coleraine Borough Council

Ballycastle  (R)

Antrim

Moyle District Council

Crawfordsburn (R)

Down

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Tyrella (R)

Down

Down District Council

Cranfield West (R)

Down

Newry & Mourne District Council

Rural

Waterfoot (r)

Antrim

Moyle District Council

Carnlough (r)

Antrim

Larne Borough Council

Ballygally (r)

Antrim

Larne Borough Council

Brown’s Bay (r)

Antrim

Larne Borough Council

Millisle Beach Park (r)

Down

Ards Borough Council

Ballywalter South Beach  (r)

Down

Ards Borough Council

Murlough (r)

Down

Down District Council

R= Resort      r= rural

Northern Ireland Blue Flag Beaches & Marina’s 2013

Name of Beach

County

Beach Manager

Magilligan, Benone

Londonderry

Limavady Borough Council

Portstewart Strand

Londonderry

The National Trust

Portrush West

Antrim

Coleraine Borough Council

Whiterocks

Antrim

Coleraine Borough Council

Ballycastle Marina

Antrim

Moyle District Council

Tyrella beach

Down

Down District Council

Murlough Beach

Down

Down District Council

Ballyronan Marina

Londonderry

Cookstown District Council

All the award winning beaches are featured in a colourful, pocket-sized visitor leaflet launched today.

The Resort Seaside award recognises beaches within reasonable access of the urban community with developed facilities and providing varied recreational opportunities. Water quality at these beaches will meet mandatory EU standards. The Rural Seaside award also recognizes mandatory EU water quality but will generally have more limited facilities and will not be part of a resort or any significant development.

Blue Flag is an award scheme for beaches run internationally by FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education).  Each of the 46 nations running Blue Flag within FEE has an organisation which facilitates the awards in their country.  For Northern Ireland it is TIDY Northern Ireland.  Blue Flag Awards are supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Coca Cola.  Blue Flag operates around the world and a full list of participating countries can be found at http://www.blueflag.org/

Northern Ireland is committed to full implementation of the revised EC Bathing Waters Directive (rBWD), 2006 and is presently in transition from the 1976 Bathing Waters Directive to full implementation of the rBWD. This transition period will be completed when the annual classifications are announced at the end of the 2015 bathing season and appropriate signage is erected at all identified beaches before the start of the 2016 season. FEE, who run the Blue Flag Award internationally has adopted the revised EC Bathing Waters Directive, 2006 earlier than required and before the appropriate reporting is in place for Northern Ireland.

TIDY Northern Ireland, an anti-litter charity, is the province’s leading authority on litter issues, and provides a unique service to communities, businesses, councils and schools throughout Northern Ireland.