A record number of blue flags have been awarded to Irish beaches and marinas for 2018 by An Taisce environmental group.
The 83 Irish beaches and seven marinas that have achieved the accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management – and comply with bathing water regulations considerably above minimum EU standards.
The number of sites receiving the blue flag is up two on last year’s total.
A blue flag standard is an international award which recognises outstanding compliance with bathing water quality and sewage treatment regulations. The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world.
“Today’s 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,” according to Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.
An Taisce coastal awards manager Ian Diamond said: “The Blue Flag is an award of excellence, the beaches and marinas that have achieved this accolade today have complied with strict criteria relating to water quality; safety, facilities for visitors, beach management, environmental education and the provision of information. It is a privilege to be awarding a record number of sites with blue flags this year”.
Bray’s South Promenade has regained the Blue Flag status for 2018
Cllr Christopher Fox, Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Bray has regained the Blue Flag status for 2018. This is the second year in a row that our bathing waters have achieved 100% compliance with EU standards and not to mention that beach is well managed, safe and accessible for beach users”.
“A big thanks to many local voluntary community organisations like Bray Tidy Towns and Bray Coastcare as well as Wicklow County Council outdoor staff, council executive and local councillors who have always been committed to ensuring high standards are maintained along Bray seafront which is a major asset to the town”.
About the Blue Flag
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The Blue Flag originated in France in 1985 when French coastal Local Authorities were awarded the Blue Flag for compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria. It was launched as an International programme as part of the “European Year of the Environment in 1987. In 1988, the first year sites were awarded outside of France 19 beaches and 2 marinas received the Blue Flag in Ireland.
The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world. The 81 Irish beaches and 7 marinas that have achieved this accolade adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
To be granted Blue Flag status for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators must comply with a specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and environmental management. The Blue Flag programme is funded in Ireland by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE).
About Bray Beach
The beach is located in the North of County Wicklow, adjacent to the border with County Dublin. The beach is on the seafront of Bray Town and is a 10-minute walk from Bray Main Street and 2 minutes from Bray Dart Train Station. The Beach stretches between Bray Head to the South and Bray Harbour to the North. The designated Blue Flag area makes up the Southern half and is 1000m long. The first 20 metres of beach seaward is shingle and steep sloping. Closer to the water’s edge, the beach is gently sloping with sand and pebbles. See beachawards.ie/blue-flag/ for more information.
Blue Flag Map