ENVIRONMENT Minister Alex Attwood is to plough £4 million in grants into helping to protect Northern Ireland’s natural environment.
The money will fund projects from £5,000 to the West Belfast Partnership for an initial survey of green corridors along the edge of the city to over £1 million spread over five years in the Mourne Mountains, Ring of Gullion and in the Glens of Antrim.
Said Minister Attwood MLA: “The challenges are clear.
“Protection and positive development of our heritage. That is the twin track strategy. Today’s funding can help this ambition.”
Large and small Natural Heritage Grants for 2013/ 2014 will be delivered to organisations over the next five years by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
Mr Attwood added: “This funding will not only improve a range of habitats for wildlife for RSPB, Ulster Wildlife and the National Trust but it will also bring tourist and economic benefits. There are multiple opportunities.”
Mourne Heritage Trust will receive £1.1 million over five years to continue to provide a full range of management services for the Mourne area of outstanding natural beauty.
Belfast Hills Partnership will receive £254,000 to manage the Belfast Hills.
Cuseway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust will receive £240,000 to carry out the Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme.
Conservation Volunteers will receive £186,000 over three years.
RSPB will receive £182,000 over three years to deliver environmental education.
And the Copeland Bird Observatory near Donaghadee in Co Down will receive £61,500 over five years to manage the island for the benefit of biodiversity and bird recording.