Poots announces £645,000 of additional funding for NI environmental projects

An additional £645,000 will be made available for environmental projects across Northern Ireland, the region’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots announced today.

The money will be made available through two strands of the Environment Fund. The fund is one of the mechanisms which enables not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental priorities across Northern Ireland.

Minister Poots said: “This will enable organisations to continue to focus on the areas of environmental protection, improvement and monitoring of habitats and species… so that we can all enjoy the full value of our natural environment in Northern Ireland.

“The impact of Covid-19, alongside the difficult financial climate, means this is a great opportunity to support the work of local organisations who are passionate about improving the environment.

“I have seen at first hand the value of the work carried out by these groups and I have been highly impressed by the levels of partnership working and volunteer enthusiasm. I commend them for this work.”

‘Everyone needs nature’

A total of 17 organisations will initially receive grants for their projects, with the potential for additional projects to be funded, subject to budget availability.

Initiatives to be funded include:

  • The creation and maintenance of core path networks and strategic routes;
  • Provision of recreation infrastructure;
  • Capital purchases essential for conservation; and
  • Nature recovery.

Minister Poots added: “This funding will continue to support the delivery of DAERA’s strategic aim of ‘Sustainability at the heart of a living, working, active landscape valued by everyone’.”

The National Trust is among the grant recipients. The trust’s director for Northern Ireland Heather McLachlan said: “We are delighted to receive additional funds to enable our Mourne Rangers to continue with essential footpath repairs on the Slieve Donard path and to upgrade the boardwalks which provide safe access through Murlough Nature Reserve.

“Like many organisations, our conservation charity has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the current financial climate, these projects simply could not have proceeded without this grant support from DAERA.

Since the easing of lockdown restrictions more people than ever before are seeking access to the outdoors and we’re clear that everyone needs nature at this time.

“This funding will enable us to continue to provide safe access to these beautiful places, and at the same time to protect the plants and wildlife which give them their character,” she said.