Environment Minister Edwin Poots today announced the allocation of an additional £645,000 of funding to environmental projects across Northern Ireland through two strands of the Environment Fund (EF).
The EF is one of the mechanisms which enables not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental priorities across Northern Ireland.
The Minster said: “I am delighted to announce this additional funding for 2020/21. This will enable organisations to continue to focus on the areas of environmental protection, improvement and monitoring of habitats and species; promotion of health, well-being, understanding, appreciation and action for the environment and access 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."
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.
Among the initiatives to be funded are projects for the delivery 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, and the Trust’s Director for Northern Ireland, Heather McLachlan, commented: “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.