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Record Number of Parks Achieve the Green Flag Award

26 July 2018

Today, environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful revealed an ever growing number of parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award.

The Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon provided the perfect backdrop as a record 70 parks and green spaces in Northern Ireland received their Green Flag Award for exceeding tough environmental standards for green space management and visitor facilities. The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open, green spaces and is growing from strength to strength.

For the 2018/19 season, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful saw a continued increase in public parks, gardens, country parks, cemeteries and green spaces meeting the demanding standards.

There were 9 first-time winners this year across all participating council areas, including: Belmont Cemetery in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Loughgall Country Park and Portadown People's Park in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council; Connswater Community Greenway and Half Moon Lake in Belfast City Council; Broadmeadow in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Moat Park in Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council; Hill of The O’Neill in Mid Ulster District Council and Kilbroney Park in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also celebrates The Green Flag Community Award and The Green Heritage Award for sites which conserve, enhance and help people enjoy the heritage value of the site. Rathfern Activity Centre and Toome Linear Park received their first Green Flag Community Awards and Ballyeaston Church Ruin received its third Green Flag Community Award; these sites are managed and maintained by volunteers from the local communities. Belfast Botanic Gardens and The Mall in Armagh receives their first Green Heritage Award with Antrim Castle Gardens and Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre receiving their third Green Heritage Awards; 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 high quality outdoor spaces in Northern Ireland.

This year 48 sites in the Republic of Ireland have also received the Green Flag Awards, further highlighting the growth of this top quality award. In Ireland the scheme is managed locally by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.

The Green Flag Awards are judged annually by green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, ranging from horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement.

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

“We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme.

We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in Northern Ireland for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors.

The Green Flag Award is a sign of a well-managed, clean and safe park and with many people increasingly relying on their local park as a place to exercise, relax and have fun, quality green space has never been more important.

Research shows that people will only visit a park if they perceive it to be clean and safe; and the Green Flag Award is an easy way for the public to see at a glance that their park meets the highest standards.

All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the hundreds of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

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 [email protected] call us on 028 9073 6920 or check out our website www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.