The Green Coast Awards were originally part of an inter-reg funded project between Wales and the South East. With support from the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government the programme was expanded nationwide and is also sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and Coca-Cola.
The aim of the Green Coast Award is to recognise beaches of high environmental quality. To achieve the award, beaches must have excellent water quality and have effective and appropriate management to ensure the protection of the natural environment.
The Green Coast Award aims to acknowledge, promote and protect the environment of rural beaches. It places a strong emphasis on community and environmental activities. The Green Coast Award builds on the public participation process as it involves local communities in the production of coastal management plans and encourages their participation in the adoption and implementation of these plans. This process gives the people who are most affected by such the plans, a say in how they should be designed and implemented, thus promoting a fine example of the bottom up approach. The plans must be sensitive to conservation sites of national and international importance and ensure that they are implemented in line with international beach management best practice.