The formation of a biodiversity plan has now increased importance, given the fact that the new Councils are taking on significant new responsibilities that impact on biodiversity including planning, urban regeneration and community development. Their role has recently been formalised in the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (
Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Larne Borough Councils, which are merging to form a new Local Authority covering Mid and East Antrim, are committed to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and the wider environment. This commitment is underpinned by the development of this Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP), and the document will raise awareness of special flora and fauna, provide a framework for local action and encourage wider involvement and partnership working.
Stressing the importance of partnerships Alderman Charles Johnston, Mayor of Carrickfergus, said : “This Local Biodiversity Action Plan covering Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne Council areas will enable all lead partners - including council, government and non-government agencies and community groups - to continue to work together to deliver biodiversity benefits throughout the future Mid and East Antrim area.’
Councillor Martin Wilson, Mayor of Larne Borough Council said : “We are delighted to launch this document as it sets out a framework to undertake practical conservation work, and to raise awareness of the wealth of wildlife and special places that exist in this region’.
Councillor Audrey Wales, Mayor of Ballymena, said the plan would stimulate increased involvement: “The new LBAP will provide an opportunity for organisations and communities to get involved in practical wildlife conservation. There are a huge number of people within the area that are already doing great work on behalf of Biodiversity and through the strategy we hope to support even more projects on the ground and inspire more people to become involved in the future.”
Commenting on the new plan Councillor Billy Ashe stated “it is hoped that Mid and East Council will get an opportunity to formally adopt this new plan which can form a solid platform on which to take forward this important work”.
This production of the LBAP was supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.