Eight areas within Mid and East Antrim have retained their Green Flag status at the annual awards ceremony held in Queen’s University, Belfast.
The winners included Carnfunnock Country Park, Carrickfergus Mill Ponds, Shaftesbury Park and Marine Gardens, Diamond Jubilee Wood, Dixon Park, Ecos Nature Park, Eden Allotment Gardens, Bashfordsland Wood and Oakfield Glen and The People’s Park.
The Green Flag Award is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces and is growing from strength to strength in Northern Ireland, increasing from three sites since programme inception in 2008.
Parks and open spaces wishing to achieve Green Flag status must have a site management plan in place and be able to demonstrate they comply with a range of strict criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management, biodiversity, community involvement and safety standards.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “We are so proud to be flying the Green Flag across so many of our Borough’s parks and open spaces.
“This is a true reflection of the fantastic work of our parks team in ensuring our green spaces are among the best in Northern Ireland.
“I would like to thank Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Green Flag Awards Scheme and, of course, our hardworking staff, who maintain and manage our parks and open spaces to such a high standard all year round.”
The Green Flag Awards are judged annually by a panel of experts, who volunteer their time to assess the management plans and the applicant sites through a rigorous judging process.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful also celebrates The Green Flag Community Award, where the sites are managed and maintained by loyal volunteers working at a local level.
There are now more places than ever for the public to enjoy free high quality outdoor spaces in Northern Ireland.
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “It is time once again to celebrate a record number of Green Flag Awards meaning more spaces than ever before offering wonderful experiences for visitors throughout the year. I also want to thank the staff who give their all to maintain these spaces to such high standards for us to enjoy.”
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 www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org.