70 Northern Ireland parks awarded Green Flag status
A record 70 parks and green spaces in Northern Ireland have been awarded the Green Flag status.
They received their Green Flag Award from environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful 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 and green spaces.
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's Botanic Gardens and The Mall in Armagh received their first Green Heritage Award with Antrim Castle Gardens and Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre receiving their third Green Heritage Awards.
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.
“We are delighted to be celebrating another record-breaking year for the Green Flag Award scheme," Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said.
"We are proud to have so many wonderful green spaces in Northern Ireland for people to experience, and encourage the public to head outdoors."
Belfast Telegraph Digital