Alliance meets National Trust to discuss Mourne’s wildfire strategy
Alliance representatives including Patrick Brown MLA and Cllrs David Lee-Surginor and Cadogan Enright last week met with Heather McLachlan, the National Trust Director for Northern Ireland, and other representatives from the Trust, to discuss their main priorities for work in the area going forward.
Mr Brown said: “Alliance representatives welcomed the opportunity to discuss with the National Trust issues and problems in the Murlough area and beyond. The National Trust are responsible for maintaining many of our areas across South Down, including Murlough, parts of the high Mournes and Castle Ward.’
“Particularly important is the work around the restoration of the Mournes after last year’s wildfire, and it was only too clear from our discussion that we need a new wildfire strategy.
“This was promised by DAERA but has not yet been delivered, and I will be writing to the Department requesting that this is moved forward as a matter of urgency.
“There is also a need for a comprehensive wildfire strategy bringing together relevant agencies and stakeholders to ensure that the damage sustained last year is not repeated.”
Cllr Enright said they discussed important long-term issues, around accessibility onto Murlough beach and into the Mournes and the Mournes Gateway Project, to make sure the environment can be enjoyed by everyone.
He said: “We also discussed how the restoration of the Ulster Way and other Mournes pathways play an essential role in this and other strategies around how we protect and enhance the Mournes.
“The National Trust are also leading on improved community engagement in the Mournes, and supporting grassroots co-design principles as we look to how we protect and enhance this important area.
“I look forward to working with my Alliance colleagues in the area to continue to support them going forward.’
Cllr Lee-Surginor said: “In South Down we are incredibly fortunate to have some of the most beautiful scenery and natural environment in Northern Ireland. But we must make sure it is protected and looked after.