A record number of Northern Ireland’s parks and green spaces received Green Flag awards at a ceremony in Antrim Castle Gardens yesterday.
A total of 43 parks, cemeteries and green spaces met the Green Flag benchmark, an increase of 23 per cent on last year.
The areas are assessed by volunteer experts using eight categories – including cleanliness, sustainability and conservation.
The Green Flag award scheme seeks to encourage parks to maintain the environment and ensure they are well managed.
For the first time, the scheme has been opened to the Republic, where six areas received awards.
The awards scheme is organised by environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan commended the dedication of staff and local communities.
SDLP MLA Mr Durkan said: “Due to their hard work, more public spaces and green spaces than ever before boast the highest possible standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent facilities.”