A new blueprint for the management of Lough Neagh shoreline will help secure the future of Northern Ireland’s largest nature conservation site.
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen launched the Lough Neagh Shoreline Management Plan which sets out how government, landowners, farmers and other stakeholders can co-operate to protect and enhance the area.
Speaking as she launched the plan at Oxford Island Discovery Centre, Miss McIlveen said: “Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the British Isles and serves as a hugely important natural habitat and resource. Not only is it a designated Special Protection Area and Area of Special Scientific Interest, the lough is also the basis of an entire economy in the area surrounding it and beyond. Its wetlands provide a unique habitat and are of internationally recognised significance.
“It is therefore crucial that everyone with a stake on the lough works together to protect it for the present and for future generations. That is why I very much welcome the opportunity to launch the Lough Neagh Shoreline Management Plan.”
The Lough Neagh Shoreline Management Plan has been developed by the Lough Neagh Partnership with financial support from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Lough Neagh Partnership will continue to engage with those who live and work around the lough including farmers, sand traders, landowners and fishermen so that actions are appropriately refined to ensure the environment is sustainably managed.
The RSPB will also provide expertise and support in delivering the vision set out in the plan.
The Minister continued: “The plan, supported by DAERA, is a practical and dynamic working tool and sets out the way forward for the next six years. I encourage everyone who relies on Lough Neagh for their livelihood, those who live around the lough and indeed anyone with an interest in this valuable environment and resource, to engage with the Lough Neagh Partnership.
“My thanks and good wishes go to Conor Corr and Gerry Darby of Lough Neagh Partnership as they progress the Lough Neagh Shoreline Management Plan. Through co-operation and collaboration we can ensure we are doing all we can to protect and maximise this natural asset.”