Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has announced that £68,794 has been awarded to Newry Mourne and Down District Council to undertake environmental initiatives in the Ring of Gullion.
The funding for 2016/17 is part of the Environment Fund managed by DOE which has been made available to eligible organisations to protect and improve our habitats, the quality of our air and water, and access to the natural environment.
Announcing the award, Mark H Durkan said: “This funding will go directly towards enhancing the Ring of Gullion, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that is one of our most beautiful landscapes in the North. It will also bring benefits to the local communities who engage and take pride in this valued landscape where they live and work.
“Habitats, species and woodlands in this area will benefit with particular emphasis being placed on improving the quality of key habitats such as heather moorlands and addressing threats to the environment by undertaking initiatives to reduce the risks of wildfire and invasive species. The projects will also provide volunteering opportunities and include initiatives to maintain and enhance walking routes in the Ring of Gullion.
“In a very difficult financial climate, I pledged that I would try and find funding to continue to support environmental groups and projects across the North in the future. I can confirm that, with close management of my budget, I can award £68,794 to Newry Mourne and Down District Council for Ring of Gullion as part of a wider Environment Fund.”
Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Michael Ruane said: “Our natural environment is what underpins who we are, what we do, where we live and contributes to happy healthy people and communities. I am delighted that, after a year in which central government funding to the sector went through considerable uncertainty, the Department of the Environment through the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has now awarded the Ring of Gullion, Strangford & Lecale and our partners in the Mourne Heritage Turst funding to continue the essential work managing our most precious landscape and our internationally important marine life and coastal birds in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I look forward to working with the NIEA in the future to securing a long lasting partnership approach to managing and resourcing these valuable landscapes, our home.”