Wicklow retains all four of its beach Blue Flags
Wicklow has retained all four of its prestigious Blue Flags this year, as well as its Green Coast Award.
On Monday, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy presented the 2018 Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards at a ceremony at The Martello Hotel, Bray. A total of 149 awards were presented for beaches and marinas at 144 sites around the country, with five sites receiving both the Blue Flag and Green Coast Award.
In Wicklow, both north and south Brittas Bay beaches retained their flags, as did Bray South Promenade and Greystones Beach. In Arklow, the South Beach retained its Green Coast award.
The Blue Flag is an international award for beach excellence and is operated in Ireland by An Taisce with support from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The award is presented to beaches and marinas which have excellent water quality and which achieve high standards across a wide range of other criteria including environmental education, management of the environment, safety and other services.
Minister Murphy said: 'The high number of awards reflects the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers on the ground. It also reflects well on the work being done more widely within catchments to improve water quality.'
The Green Coast Award is given to sites which have excellent water quality but which may be less developed and less populated than Blue Flag beaches. An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Coastcare Volunteer Groups.
Minister Eoghan Murphy also highlighted the very useful and timely bathing water information now available to beach users on the linked websites - www.blueflagireland.org and www.beaches.ie - which are run by An Taisce and the Environmental Protection Agency respectively.