Funding announced for Bann Valley group

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Bann Valley Community Group is one of thirty groups to benefit from half a million pounds of funding, which has just been announced by the Environment Minister.

Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen revealed the funds raised from the 5p plastic bag charge would be distributed to groups and organisations to be used for environmental projects in local communities.

It brings the total distributed to almost 40 projects by the Environmental Fund (EF) to over £3million this year alone.

“I am delighted we are able to support and encourage more organisations and projects as they work to develop and enhance our environment such as the protection of native habitats and their wildlife,” Minister McIlveen said during a meeting with many of the environmental groups. This additional £500,000 will go to a wide range of projects carrying out important work such as tackling marine and coastal litter, boosting the red squirrel population and promoting recycling.”

The Minister also announced she is planning to open the new Environmental Farming Scheme in early 2017. “The multi-million pound Environmental Farming Scheme is an important part of our agricultural agenda and we are working hard to be able to open it for applications in February next year,” she said. “Whilst funding for the EFS is not covered by the recent statement by Chancellor Philip Hammond, we are very much focused on securing the funding and implementing a well-focused scheme.

“The environmental sector, like DAERA, knows that challenging financial times are ahead. We all need to continue to look closely at what we do, and how we do it, to ensure we deliver efficiencies in the way we work, enhance partnership working and seek alternative sources of funding.

“Our environmental sector makes genuine positive differences across Northern Ireland to our rural and urban landscape and communities. They deliver much needed environmental improvements, education and support many of the Executive’s Programme for Government outcomes.”