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New Biodiversity Strategy Published

Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, today published a new biodiversity strategy for the region.  The Strategy is called “Valuing Nature” and its overall objective is halting the loss of our natural environment.

Actions aimed at preserving biodiversity outlined in the Strategy include:

  • restoring 240 hectares of ancient woodland;
  • delivering grassland conservation training to over 500 landowners; and
  • delivering peatland and wetland habitat restoration around the Lough Neagh basin.

In launching the Strategy, the Minister said: “The strategy contains a range of actions to safeguard our natural environment. Valuing Nature is an appropriate name as nature provides us with the key elements of life; food, clean air, water, flora and fauna.  The Strategy recognises that making progress to protect the natural environment requires commitment from a wide range of bodies including local government, business and the voluntary sector. 

The Minister continued: “Protecting our wide range of valuable species and habitats is a responsibility for society to address.  DoE or indeed government alone cannot ensure a healthy natural environment.”

1 July 2015

Environmental Better Regulation Bill introduced to the Assembly

Minister of the Environment, Mark H Durkan, today introduced the Environmental Better Regulation Bill into the Assembly.  The Bill aims to reduce complexity of environmental legislation, lessen regulatory burdens on businesses and strengthen protection of the environment.  The Bill provides the necessary legislative framework for new regulations to be brought forward to make it easier for a business to understand its compliance requirements, thus reducing red tape.  The regulations will also make it easier for the Department to assess and enforce compliance and to enable it to focus more on those activities which pose a higher risk to the environment. 

Speaking after the Bill’s introduction, Minister Durkan said: “This is a win win situation. Better for the environment. Better for business. The Bill is about better and smarter environmental regulation. It aims to find better ways to protect the environment, while facilitating economic growth”.

22 June 2015

Networking Event with the Argiculture and Rural Development Committee

The Rural Community Network is hosting a breakfast networking event with the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in its offices in Cookstown on 28 May 2015 (from 9.00 am until 11.30 am).  The event’s question and answer session will focus on how to build better engagement between the third sector and political parties. 

CO3, RCN and Assembly Community Connect have organised the event and places can be booked with Sarah Boyd at CO3 (telephone 9024 5356).

14 May 2015

Launch of Community Participation in Planning Project

Today saw the launch of a new Community Participation in Planning Project to explore how communities can be more meaningfully involved in shaping public services and local places.  

The project will explore how communities of interest, place, practice and learning can get involved in local area planning and the new power of Community Planning.  The project is a partnershIp between Ulster University, Community Places, University of Aveiro (Portugal) and Politecnico di Milano (Italy).   

The project will help communities, service providers and local authorities across Northern Ireland, Portugal and Italy build stronger relationships and gain a better understanding of the relationship between people and place.

Launching the Project Belfast Lord Mayor, Cllr Arder Carson, said: “Today’s event is a great opportunity to exchange experience and learning between each of the partner countries taking part.  There is much to learn from how things are done elsewhere and I am sure all participants will find this a very valuable opportunity.

Speaking at the Project launch, Louise O’Kane, Planner at Community Places, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with and share learning between European partners to develop innovative ways of engaging stakeholders in shaping local sevices and places for people.  Each of the partner countries is undergoing reform.  Here, the project will be taking place in an era of unprecedented change for local government with the transfer of planning functions and the introduction of Community Planning. These are important ‘place-shaping’ functions which will empower Councils across the region to make a real difference to people, places and the environment through improved service delivery, innovative and creative joint working; and more responsive and efficient local leadership and action. ”

Gavan Rafferty, Lecturer at Ulster University, said: “The project, supported by Erasmus+ is an important opportunity that will help communities understand, and get involved in, Area Planning and Community Planning so that better services, places and opportunities are developed for people. ”  

Please contact us (9023 9444) if you would like to more information on the project.

Pictured below are Project Partners with Belfast's Lord Mayor, Arder Carson, at the Launch in the City Hall.   Photograph by John Murphy (Aurora Photographic Agency)

23 April 2015

Residents win Planning Appeal at Hearing

Residents living beside an industrial steelworks site in the countryside have welcomed the decision that the expansion of the site is unauthorised and must cease.  The Planning Appeals Commission issued its decision following detailed arguments presented by the residents with the support of Community Places.  Louise O’Kane, planner with Community Places, said “this is an important decision for the local residents and sets a precedent for how industrial development in the countryside should be properly planned and managed”. 

The site in question is in the townland of Tievenagh near Dungannon and full details of the case can be found here.

23 March 2015

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