New Environment Minister Edwin Poots visited Belfast’s Window on Wildlife in Belfast Harbour Estate to announce that 24 environmental projects across Northern Ireland will share £2.2 million of monies generated by the carrier bag levy.
The Environment Fund 2020/21 uses the proceeds of the carrier bag levy (introduced in April 2013) to enable not-for-profit organisations and councils to deliver key environmental outcomes across Northern Ireland.
A portion of the money will assist RSPB NI ‘s reserve and conservation staff across RSPB NI’s network of reserves and priority landscapes to maintain ASSI land in favourable condition and improve habitats for breeding wading birds such as lapwings, snipe, curlews and redshanks as well as help to connect young people to nature through educational visits across Northern Ireland.
The Minister said: “I am pleased to announce this significant funding, derived from the carrier bag levy, which will enable organisations to continue to protect our landscape, habitats and species and promote health and well-being so that we can all enjoy our natural environment. Prior to the carrier bag levy being introduced in 2013, 300 million single use bags were used each year in Northern Ireland, filling up landfill, suffocating our seas and damaging our habitats and wildlife. The £2.2m generated from the levy will help socially-conscious organisations protect and enhance our environment and showcases my Department’s commitment to find innovative and simple solutions that have big benefits. I want to see even more practical measures that will make a real difference and ensure we leave our environment in an even better shape than we found it.”