Northern Ireland bathing waters improve through partnership working

Date published: 08 July 2022

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has visited Portrush Curran (East Strand) in County Antrim, to hear how partnership working has helped to improve water quality and facilities for the public at our identified bathing waters.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots is pictured with Mark Strong (L), Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Dr Ian Humphreys, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful at Portrush Curran (East Strand).

During his visit, Minister Poots was given a demonstration of the RNLI lifeguarding facility at the strand, and heard about improvements to water quality at Portrush Curran (East Strand) and throughout Northern Ireland.

Minister Poots said: “Portrush Curran (East Strand) was eligible to apply for a Blue Flag in 2022 for the first time since 2014, and I was delighted to recently be able to present the Council with this award at the Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Beach Awards ceremony in Ballygally. This fantastic achievement has only been possible due to the continued improvements in water quality and management of the beach, with the bathing water now meeting the stringent ‘Excellent’ standard.”

Portrush Curran (East Strand) was classified as ‘Excellent’ in 2021, which is a prerequisite for the coveted Blue Flag Award.

The Minister continued: “We take pride in these successes and will continue to work with our stakeholders and partner agencies towards further reducing water pollution to keep bathing waters clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. Our beaches contribute to the health and well-being of locals and visitors alike.” 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Northern Ireland has 26 identified bathing waters, which must meet stringent water quality standards set in the Bathing Water Regulations. The bathing season runs from 1 June until 15 September annually. The statutory bathing water operator, usually the local authority, displays the results on posters at each bathing water. Results are also posted online on NI Direct. Portrush Curran (East Strand) was classified as having ‘Excellent’ water quality in 2021, having improved from ‘Good’ water quality in 2020.
  2. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful administers the Blue Flag Award, which is the definitive international beach award recognised in 46 countries and is an assurance of beach cleanliness and safety. Portrush Curran (East Strand) was eligible to apply for a Blue Flag in 2022 for the first time since 2014. This has been possible due to the improvements in water quality, with the bathing water now meeting the stringent ‘Excellent’ standard.  
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