Northern Ireland

Cranfield beach in County Down loses Blue Flag award

Benone and Downhill Strand pictured by Gordon Dunn
Image caption Seven beaches in Northern Ireland now have a Blue Flag

Cranfield beach in County Down has lost its Blue Flag award.

Seven other beaches in Northern Ireland have been reawarded the prestigious accolade.

It recognises, among other things, superior water quality, safety and cleanliness.

Cranfield is home to a caravan park and is popular with day trippers. Its beach, known officially as Cranfield West, is operated by Newry and Mourne District Council.

Councillor Charlie Casey said: "Even though the Blue Flag will not be flying at Cranfield during the 2011 summer season, we are pleased it has received the Resort Seaside Award.

'Majestic'

"Cranfield continues to offer a family-friendly beach which boasts the majestic Mourne Mountains as its backdrop."

Ballyronan marina in County Londonderry has also retained its Blue Flag.

"Good water quality and the safety of beaches are key to our economy and tourism and we must strive to achieve high quality standards for the enjoyment of Northern Ireland's entire world famous coastline," said Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

"However, not all of our beaches reach the required standard for water quality and this needs to be addressed.

The beaches reawarded a Blue Flag are Magilligan (Benone), Downhill, Portstewart Strand (all in County Londonderry), Portrush West, Portrush East and Whiterocks (all in County Antrim) and Tyrella beach in County Down.