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Bright future for Lower Bann River – Poots

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has heralded the Lower Bann River as a tremendous asset which has enormous potential for water-based activities.

He was speaking today as he launched a Management Strategy and a Biodiversity Plan for the Lower Bann. The Minister paid tribute to all those involved in the production of the two documents, and in particular, to the Lower Bann Advisory Committee for engaging with local people, thereby ensuring that they have direct relevance to local communities and those who use the river for recreation.

He said: “These two documents point the way ahead and show that, through careful planning and co-ordination, the Lower Bann River can realise its full potential as a recreational and environmental resource of strategic importance to Northern Ireland.

“The strategy document which the Committee has presented, provides a clear vision for the strategic development and management of the waterway over the next 20 years. It has also presented a series of recommendations that those bodies with statutory and executive functions will need to consider.”

The Minister also commended the Committee for taking the initiative to produce a Biodiversity Plan for the Lower Bann Wetlands. Its publication comes at a time when governments across Europe are measuring their achievements against the Commission’s target to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010.

He concluded: "Future generations will take a dim view of us if we fail to recognise and manage sustainably this unique resource. I am confident that the implementation of the actions contained within these two documents will not put us in that position."

Notes to editors:

1. The Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees were established in 1994 to advise on: the conservation of the natural and man-made heritage; drainage and navigation; the management and sustainable development of land and water based recreation.

2. The Lower Bann Biodiversity Plan was produced for the Advisory Committee by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG). It follows the preparation of a similar document for the Lough Neagh Wetlands. The implementation of the Biodiversity Plan will fall largely to government agencies and riparian councils.

3. The Management Strategy covers the period 2009–2014 and its publication follows extensive stakeholder consultation. It includes a series of recommended objectives and actions under the following headings:infrastructure;

Heritage;

Recreation; and

Social and Economic Development.

Implementing bodies and delivery timescales are highlighted for each of the actions.

4. All media inquiries should be directed to the Department of Environment Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.