Good news today from my colleague Environment Minister Mark H Durkan announcing grants worth over £1m to 21 groups around Northern Ireland. The money is from a new Natural Environment fund, set up by Minister Durkan to shield environmental projects from the worst effects of Executive budget cuts. Grants range from £3,000-£139,000. Groups to benefit include Ulster Wildlife, National Trust,Ballinderry Rivers Trust, NI Environment link and Belfast Hills Partnership.
Todays announcement is positive news for a range of organisations around Northern Ireland. The projects funded promote appreciation of our environment, enhance monitoring efforts and protect wildlife. They are very much locally focused and ultimately benefit local communities.
This is an example of an SDLP Minister reacting to budgetary pressures, ensuring funding is available to shield such environmental projects from the worst effects of financial cuts.