Minister visits Antrim Hills to see DAERA-funded RSPB project

Environment Minister Edwin Poots was in Glenwherry today to meet RSPB NI and visit one of the projects that has benefited from funding through his Department’s Environment Fund.

By Edwin Poots MLA

Belfast South

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A range of projects funded through the Multi-year Environment Fund Strategic Strand and the Environmental Challenge Competition Strand of the Environment Fund include a Valuing Our Peatlands report showcasing the benefits of its restoration, improving environmental outcomes for wildlife and delivering curlew conservation and predator control in Antrim Special Protection Area at Glenwherry, as well as improving RSPB NI Nature Reserves for people and nature.

Following the visit, the Minister commented: “I am delighted that my Department continues to provide significant financial assistance to enable RSPB NI to deliver key strategic projects across Northern Ireland. I am pleased that RSPB NI have received £500,000 over the past year through the Environment Fund, £90,000 of which has gone towards funding this important project at Glenwherry. This work is being underpinned by engagement with communities to encourage a shift towards positive environmental behaviour and sustainable action for biodiversity. I acknowledge the vital role that local farmers will play through the sensitive environmental management of their lands.

“Action to help breeding curlew is a significant conservation challenge we are faced with. My Department’s Glenwherry Hill Farm is working with RSPB NI to benefit curlew and other upland birds and habitats. The benefits of this partnership are very evident at Glenwherry which contains a range of upland habitats and species, particularly wet grassland and blanket bog and birds such as hen harrier, merlin and breeding waders.”

The Minister concluded: “I have long been an advocate of the need for sustained efforts to restore our natural environment and the role that nature will play in addressing the challenges of climate change.”

RSPB NI’s Director Joanne Sherwood, commented, “We were pleased to welcome the Minister to Glenwherry today to demonstrate the work farmers and landowners are doing to bring nature back to the uplands in partnership with RSPB NI, including projects designed to benefit farmland birds, specifically the endangered curlew population. We work throughout Northern Ireland to give nature a home by restoring peatlands and managing habitats, often in partnership with farmers and landowners, thus tackling climate change and restoring threatened species to our nature reserves and in the wider countryside. We’d like to thank DAERA for the funding as ongoing support for green recovery projects and nature-based solutions are vital for Northern Ireland to address the nature and climate emergency which is upon us.”

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