Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has welcomed the Bathing Water Compliance report which found all of the 26 bathing waters around the coast reached the required standards.
Nineteen were classified as ‘Excellent’, a prerequisite for the coveted Blue Flag Award; with a further five meeting the ‘Good’ standard and the rest meeting the ‘Sufficient’ standard.
Minister Poots said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland’s beaches, especially given the continuing changeable weather and another difficult year we have had with COVID-19.
“The fact that people have been able visit our fantastic outdoor spaces safely and enjoy our beaches has been reassuring to many. Our beaches contribute to the health and well-being of locals and visitors alike.”
He continued: “Everyone should take pride in these results and be assured that we will continue to work with our stakeholders and partner agencies towards further reducing water pollution and keeping bathing waters clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.”
The bathing season normally runs from 1 June to 15 September. During this time, a comprehensive bathing water monitoring programme, which has been in place since 1988, is carried out by DAERA staff.
In 2021, it was not possible to carry out the normal programme because of limitations as a result of COVID 19. However, the DAERA Marine and Fisheries Division team ensured that a compliant monitoring programme was in place and was carried out.
Comparing the 2021 with the 2020 classifications, changes occured at six locations; Ballycastle, Ballywalter and Portrush East moved from ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’ whilst Carnlough and Newcastle moved from ‘Sufficient’ to ‘Good’. Ballyhornan dropped from ‘Excellent’ to ‘Good’.
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