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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Jul 2014 right left

 
01

Open Air Theatre performance by Chapterhouse Theatre Company

Wednesday 2nd July
Enniskillen Castle Museums
Admission by ticket only. Adults £13.50 / Seniors £12.00 / Students, Children & Museum Friends £10.00 / Family (2 adults & 2 children) £40.00

Guided Tour of Downpatrick High Cross

Wednesday 2nd July
Down County Museum
Free

03

Turning Stone into Bread

Friday 4th July
Waterman House, 5–33 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LA
Free

Woodland Craft Skills Day and 50 things

Saturday 5th July
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House
No charge, Donations welcome

Car Boot Sale at Mount Stewart

Saturday 5th July
Mount Stewart
Car £5, Van £10, Trailer £15

Ulster Military Vehicle Club

Saturday 5th July
Grey Point Fort
Free

Meet St ‘Moninne’ at Killevy Churches

Sunday 6th July
Killevy Churches
Free

Sundays at Carrickfergus Castle

Sunday 6th July
Carrickfergus Castle
Normal Admission Rates Apply

Cistercian Life at Inch Abbey

Sunday 6th July
Inch Abbey
Free

Early Life on the Island, Devenish Monastic Site

Sunday 6th July
Devenish Monastic Site
Free

Week on the Wildside

Monday 7th July
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Normal Admission, Members Free

08

Geology of Northern Ireland in a Nutshell

Wednesday 9th July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

Guided Tour of Downpatrick’s Historic Gaols

Wednesday 9th July
Down County Museum
Free

Jazz Evening at Crom

Thursday 10th July
Crom
Adult £5

11

Pirates’ Cellar

Saturday 12th July
Castle Ward
Normal Admission, Members Free

Pirates’ Picnic

Saturday 12th July
Castle Ward
Normal Admission, Members Free

July Jazz Series

Sunday 13th July
Castle Ward
Normal Admission, Members Free

Music Sundays

Sunday 13th July
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House
Normal Admission, Members Free

Medieval Siege Machine Demonstration

Sunday 13th July
Enniskillen Castle Museums
Normal Admission Rates Apply

Music in the Courtyard, Castle Archdale

Sunday 13th July
Castle Archdale
Free

14
15

Behind the Scenes Tour of the Museum – Caring for the Collection

Wednesday 16th July
Down County Museum
Free

17
18

Family Bushcraft Workshop

Saturday 19th July
Castle Archdale
Free

Medieval Fair at Dunluce Castle

Saturday 19th July
Dunluce Castle
Normal Admission Rates Apply

Magilligan Martello Tower Open Day

Saturday 19th July
Martello Tower
N/A

Learn about Offshore Island Habitat Restotration

Saturday 19th July
Copeland Bird Observatroy
£10

Wetland Wonders

Saturday 19th July
Balloo Wetland Nature Reserve
Free

Himalayan Balsam Bash

Saturday 19th July
Moyola Nature Reserve, Magherafelt
Free

Conservation Skills – Butterflies and Moths

Sunday 20th July
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Normal Admission, Members Free

Summer Dunes

Sunday 20th July
Portstewart Strand
Adult £2, Child £1

Argory Tartan

Sunday 20th July
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

Martello Tower

Sunday 20th July
Assembly point: 12 noon Point Bar/Magilligan Point Car Park
Free

Time to be Tudor at Narrow Water Castle

Sunday 20th July
Narrow Water Castle
Free

Guided Seal Watch at Cloghy Rocks Nature Reserve

Sunday 20th July
Cloghy Rocks Nature Reserve
Free

Medieval Mystery Tour of Down

Sunday 20th July
Down County Museum
ContactAdmission: Adults £7, Children £4.50, Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £20. Non–refundable.

21
22
23
24

Hats Off to the Forthill

Friday 25th July
Enniskillen Castle Museums
Free

Love Parks Week

Friday 25th July
Carrickfergus
Free

Summer Garden Walk

Saturday 26th July
Mount Stewart
Adult £10, Child £5

Colours of the Causeway

Saturday 26th July
Assembly point: 1:00pm Whitepark Bay car park
Free

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Saturday 26th July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

Big Bug Hunt at Mossley Mill

Saturday 26th July
Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey
Free

National Marine Week Rockpool Rummage

Saturday 26th July
Ballymacormick Point, Groomsport
Free

Jazz in Mount Stewart Gardens

Sunday 27th July
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

Bark in the Park

Sunday 27th July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

Big Bog Walk at Ballynahone Bog Nature Reserve

Sunday 27th July
Ballynahone Bog Nature Reserve, Ballynahone Road, Maghera,
Free

Seaside Shenanigans

Monday 28th July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

Trails Day at Redburn

Monday 28th July
Redburn Country Park
Free

29

Much Ado About Nothing

Wednesday 30th July
Enniskillen Castle Museums
Admission by ticket only. Adults £13.50 / Seniors £12.00 / Students, Children & Museum Friends £10.00 / Family (2 adults & 2 children) £42.00

Crawfordsburn 5K Run

Wednesday 30th July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Contact Gillian Weir

On Yer Bike

Thursday 31st July
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

  
NIAF NIAF
EEF NIAF
Climate Northern Ireland NIAF
 

£8m fine from Europe Closer 16 March 2012

Northern Ireland taxpayers have moved closer to footing a £8m fine from Europe.

It is over the failure to protect a key habitat in Strangford Lough – beds or reefs of horse mussels.

Two government departments had promised Europe we would protect the mussels back in 2006 and narrowly escaped a fine.

But since then, little has been done and on Thursday the EU started down the road of legal proceedings.

In a few month’s time, unless they can persuade the European Commission otherwise, the Departments of Environment and Agriculture will find themselves in the European courts, charged with breaching European directives.

Strangford Lough is an area of special scientific interest (ASSI), a special area of conservation (SAC) and a marine nature reserve.

It is one of the most protected areas of Europe, in theory. But in reality there has been little protection put in place.

It was discovered around 2000 that a number of the mussel beds were damaged and dead. With over 100 other species relying on the reefs formed by the mussels deep on the seabed as their habitat, the situation became critical.

Following a formal complaint to Europe, fines were only avoided because Europe was promised that the mussels would be protected and restored. That was in 2006, but it never happened.

Formal warning

Using Freedom of Information legislation, the BBC obtained emails sent between the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture. In one email a department official revealed “… if the commission asked what progress has been made, the departments will be exposed…”

In another email it was admitted that if Europe discovered what they had not done, “the commission would hang us out to dry”. But still little was done.

When it was apparent that little had been achieved, the Ulster Wildlife Trust made a second complaint to Europe last November. The European Commission has now written formally to the two government departments.

It has raised concerns over the protection of the remaining mussels, the management of activities on the lough and the restoration of the reefs.

Unless the departments can persuade the European Commission otherwise, they could face a fine of at least £8m plus a fine of tens of thousands of euros for every day the problem persists. And they have only weeks to make their case following the formal warning they have just received from the commission.

“Our response must be decisive,” said environment minister Alex Attwood.

“We need to demonstrate that the horse mussel reef issue is being conclusively addressed. We have until May this year to convince the EU that any deterioration is being addressed, beyond which infraction awaits.”

The BBC understands that Mr Attwood has meet with senior EU officials in Northern Ireland and Brussels to try and reassure the commission.

Clock ticking

But it will be the Department of Agriculture who will have to do the lion’s share of the reassuring. Only they can introduce the necessary protection required by Europe and it needs to be done immediately.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said that she is disappointed with the commission’s interpretation of the situation.

“I am determined to develop a response which fully matches our responsibility under the Habitats Directive,” she said.

“I have undertaken to meet fishermen in the near future to discuss options with them and officials from both departments will be working hard together to develop a satisfactory management regime for the future.”

But that may not satisfy Europe. They have made it clear that at this late stage they are looking specific action, not options. With just a few weeks until the May deadline there is little time for more discussions.

Heather Thompson, chief executive of the Ulster Wildlife Trust, who made the latest complaint, told the BBC: “We hope that the action taken by the European Commission will force our government to take its environmental governance role seriously and ensure the appropriate management of Strangford Lough.

“The Ulster Wildlife Trust now urges our politicians to do what is needed to fulfil our European legal obligations and stave off potentially costly infraction fines.”

The departments have just 10 weeks to salvage the situation and the clock is ticking.