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Jan 2018 right left

New Year’s Day Winter Walk

Monday 1st January
Mount Stewart
Adult £10, Child £5


Historic Garden Restoration

Sunday 7th January
Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co Armagh


Have a go: Hedge laying

Saturday 20th January
Mount Stewart
No Charge, Donations Welcome

Meadow Management

Sunday 21st January
Balloo Wetland & Woodland, Bangor


Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA) – The Opportunities in Energy Storage

Tuesday 23rd January
The Doyen, 829 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7GY


Griddle Baking

Saturday 27th January
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

Get Stuck In at Murlough

Sunday 28th January
Murlough NNR
No Charge, Donations Welcome


Improved Water Quality 15 April 2013

Improved Water Quality for Northern Ireland Beaches – Attwood

Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced that 22 out of 23 identified beaches passed the EC Bathing Waters Directive mandatory standards for water quality in 2012.

Speaking at the fifth Good Beach Summit, Minister Attwood said: “The greatest threat to bathing water quality is heavy rainfall, yet in spite of our appallingly wet weather, water quality at our bathing waters has been very good this year. It is obvious that increased vigilance is really paying off and that public health at our most popular bathing beaches is much better protected.”

Noting that Newcastle was Northern Ireland’s only bathing water not to achieve the required standard, the Minister said: “A £9million scheme to improve sewage treatment in the area is already being taken forward by Northern Ireland Water. When completed during 2013 this will dramatically reduce pollution risk and greatly improve bathing water quality.”

The Minister also pointed out that 16 of the 23 beaches achieved the higher guideline standards and will be eligible, on water quality criteria, to apply for the Blue Flag award in 2013.

Adding that we cannot afford to be complacent about water quality, Mr Attwood said: “The revised Bathing Waters Directive means that water quality standards will be even more demanding. By 2015 permitted bacterial levels will reduce by around 50% and while many of our bathing waters already achieve this standard others will not. 

Predictions around global warming also suggest that heavy rainfall will become a feature of our summer weather. This makes it imperative for us all to work together to raise standards and why Good Beach Summits are so important. I will continue to hold such summits to ensure that all key players continue to work together to make progress.

Last week I launched a consultation on a new draft Marine Litter Strategy for Northern Ireland and at today’s summit we heard how this strategy will address the levels of marine litter and also help improve the quality of Northern Ireland’s beaches.”

Concluding, the Minister added that one of his priorities has been to improve information available to the public. He said: “With new signage at every beach and a new web site,, everyone can now make better informed choices to help protect their own safety. While my Department can help to improve water quality we must all take sensible precautions when playing in or near water.

We have a wonderful coastline which must be protected for everyone’s enjoyment. Whether you walk or swim, surf or sunbathe, bird watch or picnic; the coast should be a great day out for everyone.”

Today’s Summit brought together key organisations – beach managers, local councils, campaign groups, the department and others to address issues around water quality and beach usage.