Queen's becomes first Northern Ireland university to receive a prestigious Green Flag Award
Queen's University Belfast has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag Award in the 2019 Green Flag Awards – becoming the first university in Northern Ireland to be recognised by the scheme.
The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. It was first launched in 1996 to recognise and reward the best green spaces in the country and is an internationally recognised certification for environmental quality management for parks and open spaces. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity, runs the scheme in Northern Ireland.
Hosted at Queen's this year on Tuesday 23 July 2019, the Green Flag Awards are judged annually by a panel of experts who volunteer their time to assess the management plans and the applicant sites through a rigorous judging process.
The University achieved Green Flag status for its Lanyon site through having a site management plan in place and compliance with a range of strict criteria including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management, biodiversity, community involvement and safety standards.
Queen's also received its first Green Heritage Award for the Lanyon site in recognition of the site's celebration and promotion of unique elements of its heritage and Paul Wallace, Head Gardener in the University's Grounds and Gardens team, also achieved special recognition at the awards ceremony, where he was awarded 'Employee of the Year'.
Joanne Clague, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, said:
"I am very pleased that Queen's University Belfast is the first university in Northern Ireland to have achieved a Green Flag Award. The University has put significant efforts into creating, and maintaining, a high standard public green space for our staff, students, local community and visitors. We are delighted to have been recognised in this way."
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said:
"It is time once again to celebrate a record number of Green Flag Awards meaning more spaces than ever before offering wonderful experiences for visitors throughout the year. I also want to thank the staff who give their all to maintain these spaces to such high standards for us to enjoy.
"As all of us (and young people particularly) become glued to our phones and tablets these fantastic green spaces offer some of the closest and most accessible opportunities to explore and connect to nature. Where better to learn about our reliance on the natural world? Where better to spend quality time with friends and family? Where better to relax away from all the busy-ness of life? Come to think of it I am heading outside…"
Queen's University was one of six first-time winners this year across all participating organisations including: Brownstown Park and Gosford Forest Park in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Randalstown Riverside Walk in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Drumglass Park in Belfast City Council and Warrenpoint Municipal Park in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.