Fine Gael TD for Wicklow, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the awarding of 2018 Blue Flag status to beaches at Bray, Greystones, Brittas Bay South and Brittas Bay North and a Green Coast Award to Arklow South Beach.
“Today’s high number of awards reflects the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, local communities and other volunteers on the ground”, said Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy in Bray.
Minister Doyle said, “There has been an increase in the number of Blue Flag awards this year, despite severe storm damage to the Irish coastline. Four beaches in County Wicklow continue to retain their Blue Flag status. To be eligible for a Blue Flag, a beach must meet a specific set of criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education and beach management. The awards are administered in Ireland by An Taisce in an international scheme that involves more than 60 countries. Wicklow County Council has put in tremendous work over the last few months to ensure that these flags were retained.”
“It is commendable that Wicklow retained its existing Blue Flags at Bray South Promenade, Greystones Beach, Brittas Bay North Beach and Brittas Bay South Beach. This will continue to be of great tourism value for the areas and continues to be a distinctive amenity for local residents.”
The Blue Flag has been operating in Ireland since 1988 when 19 beaches and 2 marinas were awarded blue flags. Since then the Blue Flag programme has grown from strength to strength with 83 beaches and 7 marinas achieving the accolade this year.
This year Arklow south beach was awarded the Green Coast Award for its excellent water quality and the effective management to ensure the protection of the natural environment.
Tribute was also paid to the hard work of the Clean Coasts groups, which are made up of thousands of volunteers who work for free to keep the coastlines clear of rubbish. Last weekend over 70 volunteers cleared rubbish from Bray Promenade.
“A real effort has been put in by various local communities and action groups, including the Wicklow County Council, Tidy Towns and Coastcare to ensure that Bray, Greystones and the Brittas Bay beaches were kept to the highest standards in water quality, beach management, safety and environmental excellence, and I hope this continues for years to come.” concluded Deputy Doyle.