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Lough Neagh environmental action plan to be outlined

July 2nd, 2024

A range of actions to tackle the problems of Lough Neagh are set to be approved by Stormont’s agriculture and environment minister, BBC News NI understands.

The Lough Neagh Report and Action Plan has been with the Northern Ireland Executive since mid-June, but ministers have not yet agreed to it.

Some elements of the plan are cross-cutting and require executive approval to be implemented.

The actions Agriculture and Environment Minister Andrew Muir is set to give the go-ahead for are those that fall within his department.

They include a research initiative as well as a tree-planting project and programmes aimed at supporting farmers.

It is understood the minister has yet to meet with the Earl of Shaftesbury after the owner of the lough bed said he ”would like” to transfer it to a charity or community trust model.

The issue of ownership has not been considered as part of the report and action plan.

Mr Muir is due to deliver a statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly later on Tuesday when he will outline his intentions.

While blue-green algae has been detected in a number of locations around the lough and in several places across Northern Ireland, this summer’s weather patterns have not yet resulted in the large-scale blooms that led to bathing bans in some places last year.

But scientists agree a reoccurrence of the 2023 crisis is possible, given the right conditions.

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