Lough Neagh: Environmental issues need ‘significant investment’

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Some of the suggested actions have already been funded, including the Farming with Nature scheme and several training programmes for farmers.

But money will need to be found for others, such as an initiative to research potential solutions, additional water quality Inspectors and a centralised resource for science around Lough Neagh.

Most of the report’s proposals are thought to fall to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

A smaller number, mostly concerning enforcement and regulation, are expected to involve the infrastructure and justice departments.

Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir told the assembly in April that Lough Neagh is a “priority” and called on assembly members to “get real” about the problems.

He is expected to reverse an instruction from his predecessor Edwin Poots, which placed a cap on fines for repeated negligent failures to comply with environmental, health and animal welfare rules.

Ownership of Lough Neagh is not believed to form part of the report.

Many of its elements are also part of the overdue legally-required Environmental Improvement Plan, which has been awaiting executive approval since March.

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