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Success for Ards and North Down at the Beach and Marina Awards

May 2024 - The North Down Advertiser

Five sites in Ards and North Down are among the 2024 winners of the international Blue Flag Award and the UK-wide Seaside Award.  

Bangor Marina is one of nine beaches and seven marinas in Northern Ireland that earned the prestigious Blue Flag Award distinction. Blue Flag winning sites must meet world-class standards in criteria such as safety, accessibility, cleanliness, environmental education and, for beaches, water quality.  

A representative from Boatfolk said;

"Boatfolk is thrilled to celebrate the standards achieved by Bangor Marina in earning the Blue Flag Award. This accolade underscores our commitment to providing top-tier marina services while upholding the highest standards of environmental stewardship. We are proud to contribute to making Northern Ireland a premier destination for mariners around the world, and we remain dedicated to fostering a love of the marine environment within our community." 

A further 6 NI beaches received Seaside Awards, including Ballywalter South, Cloughey, Groomsport and Millisile Beaches. The Seaside Award is the UK’s mark of quality that ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive, and well-managed coastal stretch.  

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Jennifer Gilmour said; “It is fantastic that so many of our beautiful seaside locations have been recognised in this year’s Beach and Marina awards.  It is a fitting tribute to the work of both the Council employees and the many groups of volunteers who together strive to keep our coastline clean, tidy and welcoming for visitors.   

“This summer we hope many people will be able to visit the area and take the opportunity to explore our beaches and beauty spots”. 

 Both Awards are managed locally by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. 

 Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:  ‘We are incredibly pleased to see so many local beaches and marinas have been successful at this year’s awards. Each flag shows the public that these are sites worth visiting and cherishing. Keeping our beaches tidy is essential to our environmental and economic future.  

I want to thank the many workers across winning sites who helped make this happen. Their work is critically important in making Northern Ireland a place with the best European beaches and marinas.’  

The Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir said: “I am delighted that once again so many of Northern Ireland’s beaches have received the coveted Blue Flag and Seaside Awards, and that our first-class marinas have also been recognised. These awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of those who manage our beaches. The awards let our citizens and people around the world know that Northern Ireland is open for business and that our beaches and marinas are clean, well-managed and safe to enjoy.”  

Mayors from across councils, and beach and marina operators were invited to collect the awards at a presentation ceremony at the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, on 7th May. The occasion was organised by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, who manage the accreditations locally.   

This year’s awards ceremony was sponsored by the Slieve Donard Hotel, and supported by DAERA.  

The award-winning locations will now have their respective flags in place for the Northern Ireland bathing season, which runs from 01 June to 15 September.  


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