Northern Ireland

EU funding boost to conserve NI habitats

Curlew Image copyright Andy Hay
Image caption The curlew is one of the species that it is hoped will benefit from EU funded environmental projects

Millions of euro are being made available to develop conservation plans for important habitats that support butterflies and wading birds.

Eight projects will benefit from the 4.6m euros (£4m) provided from European Union (EU) funds.

RSPB Northern Ireland will co-ordinate the work in NI, the border area of the Irish Republic and Scotland.

The projects aim to protect species like the hen harrier, golden plover and curlew.

The work includes plans to conserve areas of blanket bog on Antrim's Garron Plateau.

Rich habitats

There will also be a project to advise landowners at Montiagh's Moss near Lough Neagh at Aghalee on how to manage land for the threatened marsh fritillary butterfly.

And there will be rush-cutting in lowland meadows to provide nest sites for waders.

The work will conserve rich habitats like blanket bog and fen wetland in areas like the Antrim Hills, the Pettigo area of County Donegal and the Muirkirk uplands of Scotland.

The money is coming from the EU's Interreg VA programme, and is being match funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Republic of Ireland's Department of Community, RSPB Scotland and Mines Restoration Ltd.

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