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Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful have announced that local beaches Cranfield, Tyrella and Murlough beaches have retaining their Blue Flag status.

A total of 26 beaches and marinas have achieved standards of excellence at the recent annual Beach and Marina Awards. The Beach and Marina Awards are internationally recognised awards that highlight how Northern Ireland’s blue spaces are something to take pride in, look after and enjoy, with the awards also giving an opportunity to celebrate the key workers who maintain local beaches and marinas to such high standards.

Cranfield beach. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

This year the focus is also on raising awareness of the benefits of a healthy marine environment and the positive connection between the outdoors and our physical and mental health.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “It is fantastic that so many of our beautiful seaside locations have been recognised in this year’s awards. It is a fitting tribute to the work of both the Council employees and the many groups of volunteers who together strive to keep our coastline clean, tidy and welcoming for visitors. 

“This summer we hope people will be able to visit the area and take the opportunity to explore our beaches and beauty spots. However, I would make the plea to everyone to do so responsibly and, critically, in line with Public Health Agency guidelines. We want our beaches to be safe and will do all we can as a Council to deliver on this, but everyone has to take responsibility for their own actions as we continue through the pandemic.  As such, I would ask that everyone respects social distancing and takes all litter home with them.”

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said, “The past year has restricted our ability to travel and meet people. Yet, we are fortunate to have such great local blue spaces right on our doorstep. All of us can be rightly proud of this beautiful place we call home. Behind every one of these special places are dedicated key workers whose effort all year round keeps these blue spaces in such excellent condition. These awards are a small way of saying thank you and recognising that we have so much to be proud of in our community”.

Information on the award-winning blue spaces can be found at www.beachni.com and www.liveherelovehere.app

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