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Mid Ulster Wins Environmental Award for Marina Quality

Mid Ulster District Council landed a Blue Flag Marina Award at a recent ceremony celebrating excellent management of local coasts and waterways.

Ballyronan Marina achieved the recognition at the annual Beach and Marina Awards for the Council’s work in meeting stringent international standards around water quality, education, safety and accessibility.  

Members of the council attended a presentation at the Ballygally Castle Hotel on 18 May to receive their accolade, which is managed in Northern Ireland by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. 

Deputy Chair, Cllr Christine McFlynn, who attended the presentation, said,

“In securing its Blue Flag status once again, Ballyronan Marina continues to be an asset in our district. As well as recognising the quality of the natural resource on the shores of Lough Neagh, this award also acknowledges the continuing care of Council employees, community groups based on site, boat owners and residents of Ballyronan who together strive to keep our Marina clean, tidy and welcoming for visitors.  

“Extensive development of the site carried out by Council in the past 18 months has enhanced the visitor experience. The new on-water glamping pods, viewing platform, development of the existing play area to include an all-inclusive play, upgrades to the existing trails through Ballyronan Wood, and the addition of a Changing Places facility, in addition to the Blue Flag award, make this an integrated, engaging, clean and accessible place for local families and visitors to enjoy.”

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 Ulster who put in the hard work and dedication to ensure that they remain of a world-class calibre.”

Mid Ulster 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 are invited to enjoy the award-winning amenities at the site, which is a designated bathing water that has the highest water-quality standards and excellent facilities, making it an ideal tourist destination. 

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA, who delivered a speech at the presentation said,

“I am delighted that Northern Ireland again has had such success in the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards. 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.”

The Minister continued, “These awards are excellent news for our holidaymakers and bathers who can confidently enjoy our beaches and marinas, and avail of the award winning facilities that are on offer, and I remain committed to ensuring that my Department continues to play a key role in running the annual programme for water quality testing at our world class beaches.” 

The Blue Flag Award is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a worldwide environmental organisation that also oversees the Eco-Schools, Learning About Forests and Young Reporters for the Environment programmes.

FEE celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag Award in 2022, and has so far issued 4,831 Blue Flags in 50 countries this year.

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