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‘Water’ great result for Mid & East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim Council has landed a total of six awards - three Blue Flag Awards and three Seaside Awards - at a recent ceremony celebrating excellent management of local coasts and waterways.

Ballygally Beach, Carnlough Beach and Carrickfergus Marina were among the locations to achieve recognition at the annual Beach and Marina Awards for the Council’s work in meeting stringent international and UK standards around water quality, education, safety and accessibility.

Members of the council attended a presentation at the Ballygally Castle Hotel to receive their accolades, which are managed in Northern Ireland by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

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Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said, “We are delighted that so many of our beautiful seaside locations have been recognised in this year’s Beach and Marina Awards.

Mid and East Antrim receives awards on Ballygally Beach

“These awards are 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. I hope that people visiting the area will take the opportunity to explore our beaches and beauty spots, this summer.”

Rachel Vaughan, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Local Environmental Quality Manager commented, “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 Mid and East Antrim who put in the hard work and dedication to ensure that they remain of a world-class calibre.”

Mid and East Antrim 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 can 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.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots, who spoke at the presentation said: “It is inspiring to see so many of our beaches and marinas achieving the exceptionally high standards demanded by these awards. It is a wonderful achievement, especially given the difficulties in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges that has presented. I am grateful for the cooperation and collaborative working through the Better Beaches Forum, which is led by my Department and involves Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Northern Ireland Water, councils and stakeholders, in achieving this number of awards.”