Cookie Policy

We use cookies to make our website effective and useful for you. To continue, please accept the use of cookies.

I accept

How we use cookies

Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Apr 2017 right left

     

Car Bazaar

Saturday 1st April
Mount Stewart
Car £5, Van £10, Trailer £15

Easter fun at Bangor’s Kilcooley Wood

Saturday 1st April
Kilcooley Wood, Bangor
£2 per child

02
03
04

Community Planning – The Belfast Agenda

Wednesday 5th April
Belfast City Hall
Free

06

Clifton House Tours

Friday 7th April
Clifton House
£6.50

Geology Guided Walk at Kearney

Saturday 8th April
Strangford Lough
No Charge, Donations Welcome

Good Food Market

Saturday 8th April
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

Fishery Open Weekend – April

Saturday 8th April
Carrick–a–Rede
Normal Admission, Members Free

Pet Nose Day

Sunday 9th April
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

Rea’s Wood, Antrim – Woodland Management

Sunday 9th April
Rea’s Wood Antrim
Free

Easter Egg Hunt

Monday 10th April
Springhill Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Egg Hunt – The Argory

Monday 10th April
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Fun

Monday 10th April
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

11
12
13

Easter Bunny Hunt

Friday 14th April
Murlough NNR
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Egg Hunt

Friday 14th April
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Egg Hunt at Wellbrook Beetling Mill

Friday 14th April
Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Corkhill
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter at Castle Ward

Friday 14th April
Castle Ward
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Egg Hunt at Ardress House

Friday 14th April
Ardress House, Portadown
Normal Admission, Members Free

Oxford Island Easter Trail

Friday 14th April
Oxford Island
£1 per sheet

Easter Egg Hunt at Rowallane Garden

Saturday 15th April
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Egg Hunt at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House

Saturday 15th April
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Treasure Hunts at Florence Court

Saturday 15th April
Florence Court
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Treasure Hunts at Crom

Saturday 15th April
Crom
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Treasure Hunts at Castle Coole

Saturday 15th April
Castle Coole
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Sunday Celebrations

Sunday 16th April
Giant’s Causeway
Normal Admission, Members Free

Easter Fair

Sunday 16th April
Castle Ward
Normal Admission, Members Free

Cruise the Lough

Monday 17th April
Crom
Adult £4, Child £2

Easter Monday Family Fun Day

Monday 17th April
Florence Court
Normal Admission, Members Free

18

A three day series of tours focusing on the life of Mary Ann McCracken

Wednesday 19th April
Clifton House
£8.00 for adults & £5.00 for children under 16

Archaeology for Children Programme

Wednesday 19th April
Oxford Island
£5 per child per day

20
21

Geology Walk

Saturday 22nd April
Giant’s Causeway
No Charge, Donations Welcome

Four Peaks Challenge

Sunday 23rd April
Divis and the Black Mountain
Adult £3

Garden Restoration

Sunday 23rd April
Redburn Country Park, Holywood
Free

The Future of Outdoor Recreation in Binevenagh & the Coastal Lowlands – Have Your Say

Monday 24th April
See flyer for details
Free

25

Roots to Success

Wednesday 26th April
Common Ground NI, Co Fermanagh (near 5 mile town)
Free

27
28

Ballyquintin Farm — Wildlife Walk

Saturday 29th April
Strangford Lough
Adult £2, Child £2

Vintage Rally

Saturday 29th April
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

Paws in the Park

Saturday 29th April
Castle Coole
Normal Admission, Members Free

Belfast Spring Fair at Barnetts Demesne

Saturday 29th April
Barnetts Demesne
Free

Historic Belfast wood to show off new look with unmissable spring event

Saturday 29th April
Throne Wood, Belfast
Free

Jazz in the Garden

Sunday 30th April
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

      
 

£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.