Eleven local environmental water quality projects have benefitted from a £220,000 fund, that aims to protect waterways and surrounding ecosystems, Environment Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

The not-for-profit organisations and councils, will receive grants of between £5,000 and £30,000 from The Water Quality Improvement Strand of the Environment Fund for 2021- 2022.

The fund aims to deliver on water quality priorities across Northern Ireland, preventing deterioration and enhancing the status of aquatic ecosystems.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots made the announcement during a visit to one of the successful recipients, Six Mile Trust in Antrim.

The minister said:

“Groups such as the Six Mile Trust are an invaluable component of our plans to improve water quality.

I’ve seen today first-hand how far an investment of £13,000 from this initiative can go towards improving the environment with regards to projects like this.

"The trust works tirelessly and passionately to ensure the water quality in the Six Mile Water improves."

The Minister continued:

“The trust monitors water quality, participates in pollution prevention and is well placed to build relationships within the catchment to bring about schemes such as this.

Such groups are the eyes and ears of the river bank and pick up on issues and opportunities to improve water quality.

"A close working relationship with my department is of mutual benefit, as we both strive to improve water quality in the Six Mile Water and Northern Ireland as a whole.”

Concluding, Minister Poots said:

“Since I became DAERA minister, I have seen the value of the daily work carried out by groups like this and welcome both the level of partnership-working and the enthusiasm of volunteers. I can’t praise them enough for their conservation efforts.”