Record Number of Parks Achieve the Green Flag Award
Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, in association with Heyn Environmental Solutions, revealed the parks and green spaces that have been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award.
Bangor Castle provided the perfect backdrop as a record 60 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.
For the 2017/18 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 14 first-time winners this year across all participating council areas, including: Jordanstown Loughshore Park, Hazelbank Park and Gideons Green, Mill Race Trail, Valley Park and Wallace Park in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Ballymenoch Park and Londonderry Park in Ards and North Down Borough Council; ABC Canal Greenway, Lough Neagh Conservation Area and The Mall Armagh City in Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council; Dunmurry Village and Tullycarnet Park in Belfast City Council; Brooke Park in Derry City and Strabane District Council; Grange Park in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Shaftesbury Park & Marine Gardens in Mid and East Antrim Borough 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. Ballyeaston Church Ruin received a second Green Flag Community Award for the site which is managed and maintained by volunteers from Ballyeaston Village Committee. Palace Demesne in Armagh receives its first Green Heritage Award with Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House and Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre receiving their second Green Heritage Awards. There are now more places than ever for the public to enjoy high quality outdoor spaces in Northern Ireland.
This year 36 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. Parks matter to our society; this year more than 37 million people throughout the UK will visit a park, this is five million more than voted in June’s General Election. 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.”