Ring of Gullion and Strangford and Lecale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to benefit from additional funding supported by NIEA Environmental Challenge Fund
Image credit: Ballymacdermott Court Tomb by John Williams Runner up in the AONB Calendar competition 2020
Newry Mourne and Down District Council have successfully secured funding from the NIEA Challenge Fund to implement additional biodiversity and access projects within the Ring of Gullion and Strangford and Lecale (RGSLL) AONBs.
A total of £279,500 has been secured to invest in a range of exciting natural heritage projects across the areas. This funding will assist in the delivery of key environmental outcomes as identified in the AONB management plans; improving wellbeing for all by providing healthy landscapes for communities to enjoy; creating places where people want to live, work and visit. RGSLL is committed to contributing to reversing habitat and species decline; improving river and marine water quality; and obtaining favourable management in the AONBs designated and protected sites.
The RGSLL Environmental Challenge Fund project will deliver a wide variety of projects over the coming months - an Advanced Mooring System feasibility and pilot project in Strangford Lough; Don't Mow Let it Grow in Ards and North Down and Newry Mourne and Down; Forkhill Greenspace Project – Phase 2 - Welcoming Nature Back; Ring of Gullion Way enhancement works scheme Gledhu, Ballard Rd, and Forkhill River; Strategic access connections- bridge over Forkhill river; Slieve Gullion SAC Erosion Control on path corridor to planning stage; Ring of Gullion Way re-route to planning stage; Carrive summit loop; Forkhill River walk consultation; Ringhaddy Quay, slipway, and car park consultation and development; Access gateways across Ring of Gullion, Strangford and Lecale and the Mournes; Forkhill River Blueways feasibility, consultation and development; AONBs Go Digital - ; Visitor monitoring - mobile visitor counter.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason said “During the Covid 19 pandemic we have seen a significant increase in the number of people across our district using the outdoors for their health and wellbeing. It is vitally important that we continue to invest in these areas so that we can provide the facilities that are necessary to cope with this increased demand that is being placed on our outdoor spaces. It is also important that we provide the necessary investment to protect our designated sites, habitats and species; so that what makes the Ring of Gullion and Strangford and Lecale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty so special, and so popular with both visitors and locals alike, can be protected and cherished for generations to come. I am sure that this additional funding will provide many opportunities for people to enjoy and connect with their environment in a better way in the future.”
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