Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

€8.1m EU funding boost to protect cross-border habitats

The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) has announced that a new cross-border environmental project to protect endangered species and restore natural habitats is to receive €8.1m worth of funding under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will lead the new project called ‘Collaborative Action for the Natura Network’ (CANN), and will head a consortium of leading government departments, local authorities, research institutions, community groups and charities from across the region.

Council Chairperson, Gillian Fitzpatrick welcomed the funding and said the Council is delighted to be playing a lead role in such an exciting cross border project.

“The project will bring together a wide range of partners with great experience in the field of environmental protection.  I am confident this project will make a real and lasting difference on both sides of the border,” she said.

SEUPB Chief Executive, Gina McIntyre revealed that the project brings together “a wide range of partners with an impressive depth of experience in the field of environmental protection. By working in collaboration with each other they will be able to make a real and lasting difference on both sides of the border,” she added.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Gillian Fitzpatrick and Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) Chief Executive Officer, Gina McIntyre announce €8.1 million worth of EU funding for a cross-border environmental project.

The five-year project will help to improve the condition of protected habitats and priority species found within Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

The protection of these habitats and species will allow the region to meet targets set under the EU’s Birds and Habitats Directives along with realising the benefits from the many ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, alleviating flooding and visual and cultural landscapes provided by these areas.

In total, CANN will produce seven species action plans and 25 conservation action plans improving the conservation status of 3,150 hectares of land designated as being a Special Area of Conservation.  The project will also deliver a series of education and outreach programmes to help increase awareness in local communities to the potential value of natural habitats and endangered species.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland along with Scottish Natural Heritage.