A number of beaches and marinas in County Derry have been presented with environmental awards in the annual Beach and Marina Awards.
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council won ten Blue Flag Awards and two Seaside Awards at the recent ceremony celebrating excellent management of local coasts and waterways.
Local beaches to receive the prestigious accolade were Benone Strand, Castlerock Beach and Downhill Strand.
The Marina in Coleraine also received recognition.
Meanwhile, in Mid Ulster, Ballyronan Marina landed a Blue Flag Award for the Council’s work in meeting stringent international standards around water quality, education, safety and accessibility.
The Deputy Mayor for Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Ashleen Schenning said: “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.”
Mid Ulster District Council's Deputy Chair, Cllr Christine McFlynn, added: “In securing its Blue Flag status once again, Ballyronan Marina continues to be an asset in our district.
"As well as recognising the quality of the natural resource on the shores of Lough Neagh, this award also acknowledges the continuing care of Council employees, community groups based on site, boat owners and residents of Ballyronan who together strive to keep our Marina clean, tidy and welcoming for visitors.
“Extensive development of the site carried out by Council in the past 18 months has enhanced the visitor experience. The new on-water glamping pods, viewing platform, development of the existing play area to include an all-inclusive play, upgrades to the existing trails through Ballyronan Wood, and the addition of a Changing Places facility, in addition to the Blue Flag award, make this an integrated, engaging, clean and accessible place for local families and visitors to enjoy.”
Rachel Vaughan, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’ s Local Environmental Quality Manager praised the local councils for their efforts.
“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 teams at Causeway Coast and Glens and Mid Ulster who put in the hard work and dedication to ensure that they remain of a world-class calibre,” she said.
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.
FEE celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag Award in 2022, and has so far issued 4,831 Blue Flags in 50 countries this year.
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