MLAs Mervyn Storey and Cathal O h’Oisín hosted an event at Stormont on Tuesday 7th February to promote the uniqueness of the Causeway Coast & Glens area and to raise awareness of the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, the partnership body responsible for protecting the area.
Minister of the Environment Alex Attwood spoke of the unparalleled beauty of the region. He said: ‘I am determined, subject to Executive approval, to get National Park legislation underway. The framework will be different to Ireland and the UK and it will reflect the needs of Northern Ireland. ’
The Minister went on to congratulate the Trust for the work achieved over the last ten years and he encouraged local councils to support the organisation. In particular he asked Ballymoney Borough Council to consider re-establishing its partnership with the Heritage Trust.
In light of the Minister of Environment, Alex Attwood’s firm advocacy of the concept of National Parks in Northern Ireland, the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, with 10 years of experience in AONB management and sustainable tourism, has an important role to play in the debate.
Acting Chief Executive, Maxime Sizaret said: ‘from its experience, the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust must be recognised as the most suitable partnership to deliver key environmental priorities. A strong, well resourced and locally supported organisation such as the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust is ideally placed to support, promote and advocate the concept.’
The Causeway Coast and Glens area offers unrivalled landscapes shared by 6 local Councils, Limavady, Coleraine, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Moyle and Larne. These unique landscapes are nationally and internationally recognised with 3 of the 8 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site.
The Chairman, Bill Harpur commented: ‘The Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust has built a strong reputable partnership over the last decade, attracting over £7 million of EU, HLF, central and local government funding to the area through a series of projects. It coordinates the management of 3 AONBs and a World Heritage Site. The Trust has successfully drawn money into the local economy whilst ensuring that the unique quality of the landscape and heritage of the area are conserved, enhanced and promoted.’
In light of ongoing financial pressures and rising interest in landscape conservation the event at Stormont emphasised that continued support from within National and local government and from wider partners is needed to sustain the future of the organisation to conserve, enhance and promote the Causeway Coast and Glens unique landscapes and heritage for many more years.
The Directors and staff of CCGHT are grateful to Mervyn Storey MLA and Cathal O H’Oisín MLA for the opportunity to promote the area and the role of the Heritage Trust to the Stormont audience.