James Hutton Institute appointed to undertake research on long-term future of the Mourne Mountains
and live on Freeview channel 276
The minister made the announcement at a recent workshop with stakeholders at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Newcastle.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the National Trust, the Mourne Heritage Trust, Tourism NI, Ulster Farmers’ Union, Mountaineering NI, Mourne Mountain Rescue, NI Water, Newry and Mourne District Council and government departments.
Mr Murphy commented: “The future of the Mournes is very important to me. I am determined to do all we can to sustain this area of outstanding natural beauty into the future.
“After a procurement exercise, leading research organisation, The James Hutton Institute has been appointed to engage with the community, organisations and bodies operating in the area to gather information on the challenges facing the Mournes, and their aspirations for the future.
“The social scientists research team from The James Hutton Institute working on this project have significant experience working in mountain areas.
“They will work jointly with my Department’s Innovation Lab to develop a long-term plan for the area.
“It is important that voices from the local community are heard and I encourage people to get involved. I look forward to the outcome of the research which I hope will make a significant contribution to the development of the Mournes.”
The James Hutton Institute is a world-leading, multi-site scientific organisation encompassing a distinctive range of integrated strengths in land, crop, waters, environmental and socio-economic science.
The Institute has a staff of nearly 500 and 125 PhD students and takes its name from the 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment scientist, James Hutton, widely regarded as the founder of geology and agronomist.
Antonia Boyce, Climate Change Incubator Director from the James Hutton Institute, said: “Representing the views of all stakeholders will be vital in the long-term vision for the future sustainability of the Mournes area.
"We look forward to working closely with the Department of Finance Innovation Lab as well as individuals, communities and businesses to get a real sense of people and place, and their hopes for the future.”