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2nd July 2015

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has published a new Biodiversity Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The Strategy is entitled Valuing Nature and its overall objective is halting the loss of our natural environment.

The Strategy itself contains over 50 high level actions which collectively will make a difference to halting the loss of biodiversity up to 2020.

These 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.

Mark H Durkan said: “The new biodiversity 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.”

This commitment is in line with other administrations in the UK and Ireland and has been driven by the European Union and wider international commitments.

Mark H Durkan concluded :“Northern Ireland will play an active role in ensuring that biodiversity is safeguarded. We owe it to future generations to pass on an environment which is in better shape than that which we inherited. Our natural heritage is a valuable resource which benefits everyone so we need to be sympathetic to its needs.”

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