27 July 2017
A record number of parks and open spaces in Northern Ireland have received the Green Flag Award in recognition of environmental efforts and visitors' facilities.
Seventeen parks in the Belfast area received the award.
Antrim and Newtonabbey Borough Council also had 13 parks in their area which were recognised.
The Green Flag Award for parks and green spaces was first introduced in 2008/2009. There were 14 first-time winners this year.
The awards are judged annually by green space experts, who volunteer to assess sites.
They assess them against eight strict criteria, including:
- Horticultural standards
- Community involvement
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: "With many people increasingly relying on their local park as a place to exercise, relax and have fun, quality green space has never been more important.
"Research shows that people will only visit a park if they perceive it to be clean and safe; and the Green Flag Award is an easy way for the public to see at a glance that their park meets the highest standards.
"All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the hundreds of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."