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EAST Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton has expressed his disappointment following a negative response to a written question from Department for Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon regarding a register of flora and fauna on the Comber Greenway.

Mr Newton highlighted Sustrans 'Greener Greenways' initiative in Great Britain which seeks to improve levels of knowledge about nature along greenways. This includes expert and volunteer surveys of to identify what flora and fauna inhabit our greenways.

Robin Newton said, “The Minister's response to my question indicates she is out of touch with best practice in the development of greenways. It is difficult to understand why the Minister would not see benefit in planning a register of flora and fauna along the 7 miles of the Comber Greenway. A register is an important first step in improving the route for the public and wildlife. It would be fantastic opportunity for the Minister to help 'green' our greenways.

Minister Mallon often talks up her support for greenways. This would be an opportunity to embrace a holistic approach rather than concentrating solely on cycling. Key greenway development objectives includes improving knowledge about wildlife; managing habitat, protecting and increasing the route’s biodiversity.

Greenways can protect wildlife as well as bringing huge benefits to users. With leadership and vision the Department for Infrastructure has an opportunity to become a wildlife champion by creating greener greenways.”

Mr Newton's question can be found here