Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd visits Portmore Lough Nature Reserve

Date published: 05 October 2022

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has visited the Portmore Lough Nature Reserve at Gawley’s Gate.

Minister O’Dowd with RSPB NI Director Joanne Sherwood

The Minister was given a tour of the site by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB NI), where he viewed a variety of bird species in their natural habitat and heard about the many conservation projects being undertaken at the reserve.

Following the visit Minister O’Dowd said:  

“Visiting Portmore Lough has given me an insight into the vital work being undertaken here by RSPB NI, learn more on their Manifesto for Nature and to discuss ways in which my Department can build on the work we do to help deliver for nature and climate over the next Assembly term.

“I also welcomed the opportunity to discuss how the planning system can deliver requirements alongside the Climate Action Plan. The Planning System overall has at its heart the objective of furthering sustainable development and my Department is committed, within its areas of responsibility, to working to ensure that it continues to play its part in protecting the environment, whilst mitigating and adapting to the climate emergency and nature crisis.

“As we progress our climate change strategies and plans, I look forward to building on current engagement and collaboration with key stakeholders such as the RSPB NI to ensure nature based solutions are built into future policy development.”

RSPB NI Director Joanne Sherwood added: “We welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Minister to discuss the critical role of protecting and restoring our natural environment.  Our environment is under threat like never before, yet it underpins our economy, is key to addressing the climate crisis and contributes to our long term prosperity and health.  By investing in nature and green infrastructure we can enhance health and well-being, create jobs and provide cost effective solutions to many of the problems our society and economy faces.” 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Portmore Lough is a lowland, wet-grassland reserve boasts an open view across the Lough that takes in the wider landscape. It's a family-friendly, quiet retreat with seasonal wildlife spectacles - butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies in summer; greylag geese, whooper swans and thousands of ducks in winter.
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