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





    Jan 2020 right left


    Wildlife Garden Work

    Sunday 5th January
    Derryanvil, near Portadown


    Repowering Democracy? Community participation in the energy transition

    Thursday 9th January
    Canada Room and Council Chamber, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University Belfast, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN


    BIMcert – Reducing the Energy footprint in the Construction Sector

    Wednesday 22nd January
    Titanic Belfast Building, 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, BT3 9EP

    What can your business do to reduce plastic waste?

    Thursday 23rd January
    Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Engineering Centre, NIACE, Airport Road, Belfast BT3 9DZ


    Environmental Conservation Careers Fair

    Tuesday 28th January
    School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast

    Delivering Sustainable Housing and Communities

    Wednesday 29th January
    1 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BW

    Adapting Historic Buildings for Climate Change

    Thursday 30th January
    Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast, 185 Stranmillis Road, Belfast BT9 5EE

    Feeding the City 2020 – Ideation Workshop

    Thursday 30th January
    Loveworks, Macrory Centre, 130 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GL



    Agriculture has shaped much of the landscape of rural Northern Ireland, occupying approximately 73.9% of the total land area producing food and a range of public goods on which the people of Northern Ireland depend.


    Agricultural land can provide multiple benefits to society and how we use such land can play a pivotal role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, halting biodiversity loss, flood reduction, supporting productive agriculture and shaping places where people want to live and work.

    In April 2013, the Agri–Food Strategy Board produced ‘Going for Growth’, a strategic action plan for growth in the sector up to 2020. The strategy is very ambitious in terms of projected growth in employment (15%) and sales (60% overall, with 75% of sales outside Northern Ireland). These ambitious growth plans present a major risk to the environment and must be matched with an equal desire for environmental sustainability.

    In recent decades the CAP has pushed farming in an unsustainable direction. Agricultural intensification has resulted in unintended consequences for the environment such as declines in wildlife, problems with water quality and a reduction in soil quality, all of which form the productive base of agriculture.

    However, agriculture can be part of the solution, which is evidenced through the role farmers and land managers play in the maintenance of landscapes and delivery of current agri–environment schemes.  The CAP has not been effective at meeting one of its key outcomes of helping to build a resilient agricultural industry. In NI 87% of farm income is derived from EU subsidies– compared with 53% for the UK. Without financial support most farming in NI is uneconomically viable. This has been brought into stark relief by the risks posed to future agriculture support and the implications for farming as a result of the UK’s decision to the leave the EU.


    Read More

    Agricultural policy costs €57.7billion annually – 40% of the EU budget.

    The water footprint of agricultural products contributes by far the largest fraction of the total water footprint of EU27+1.

    Over the last 10 years, employment in farming has dropped by 25% with an overall loss of 3.7 million jobs.

    Annually 90 million tonnes of food, or 179kg per person, or 50% of all edible and healthy food is wasted in EU households, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain.

    The cost of soil degradation is estimated at €38billion annually.

    20% of all private sector employment in Northern Ireland is in the Agri–Food sector.

    The farming and processing industries contribute around £1billion per annum of value added to the local economy.

    Farm numbers and incomes have been declining in real terms for the past 28 years, while Northern Ireland’s primary agricultural outputs are livestock and dairy products, for both local consumption and export.

    Arable production has continued to decline since 1981. Potatoes, apples and mushrooms are the main crops for human use, with wheat, arable crop silage and other crops increasing in recent years.

    10% of Northern Ireland is woodland. 0.75% of NI is ancient woodland.