The Blue Flag Programme is now one of the most widely known, most recognised and valued eco labels throughout Europe and beyond. It is awarded to beaches and marinas with excellent environmental management.
The International Jury awarded the Blue Flag to 86 sites in Ireland for 2015.
Blue Flag Criteria
The Blue Flag emblem guarantees visitors a very high environmental quality, not just in terms of bathing water quality but also in terms of the range of facilities offered such as litter and recycling bins, disabled access, toilet facilities, dog control, car-parking and educational projects. The Council assists community group with Beach Management plans for their local areas and works with local schools on awareness-raising projects. The Blue Flag programme is organised by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe( FEEE) and co-ordinated by An Taisce.
Wicklow County Council welcomes the awards of the Blue Flags for Greystones South and Brittas Bay South beaches by An Taisce in recognition of the excellent water quality and facilities available at these bathing areas.
The An Taisce Blue Flags programme demands consistently excellent water quality over a four year period. Unfortunately Brittas Bay North beach did not achieve Blue Flag status this year owing to the water quality being assessed at “good” rather than “excellent” quality.
The maritime coastline of Wicklow is one of the county’s prize assets in our tourist attraction. Our beaches combined with the harbours are a focal point for an array of activities including surfing, swimming, angling, sailing and day trippers.
The Council is delighted that the following bathing locations in Wicklow have achieved excellent status:
- Brittas Bay South
- Greystones South
- Silver Strand
New Bathing Water Classification quality now includes all monitoring data for the previous 4 bathing seasons (2011-2014 inclusive) rather than focusing just on the most recent bathing season. A new classification of ‘Excellent’ has also been introduced for the highest quality waters. The minimum required standard is ‘sufficient’.
Classification quality is demonstrated in the fact that Brittas Bay North Beach achieved a good status over the period. This beach can be affected by tidal pressures and river catchment issues. Wicklow County Council continues to monitor catchment areas and liaise with local land owners to continually improve these areas.
These excellent results could not be achieved without the assistance of the public. There can be pressure points on the Brittas Bay beaches outside of the bathing season of 1st May to 15th September, resulting in traffic and litter problems. The Local Authority continues to liaise with Local & Community Representatives. The assistance of An Garda Siochana is appreciated in this regard.