MEETING ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ON GLOBAL WARMING WITH FARMERS REPRESENTATIVES

Local farmers group ‘Down District Farmers for Renewable Energy’ (DDFFRE) met with Department of the Environment Minister Mark H  Durkan on Monday afternoon to seek his support for the Lecale area being recognized as the UK reference site for energy storage and micro-grid technologies. DDFFRE were supported by Ulster Farmers Union Gary Hawkes, UFU chief policy officer Chris Osborne, renewable energy companies and Down Councilor Cadogan Enright.

Some of the delegation to the Minister. Left to right, Cllr Cadogan Enright with Ulster Farmers Union Chief Policy Officer Chris Osbourne and Down District Farmers representatives Declan Owens and Alan Montgomery

Some of the delegation to the Minister. Left to right, Cllr Cadogan Enright with Ulster Farmers Union Chief Policy Officer Chris Osbourne and Down District Farmers representatives Declan Owens and Alan Montgomery

Delegation leader Cllr Enright said “An extremely constructive meeting addressed the Northern Irelands Regional Development Policy and perceived gaps in how this was translated in the down and Ards Area Plan. There was a concern that Northern Ireland could lose the opportunity to become the UK lead in these new technology areas if planning policy did not reflect national policy. We noted how the Scottish Government had succeeded in gaining the UK reference site for wave and tidal energy.” CLICK FOR DETAILS OF EXCITING LOCAL PROJECT HERE 

DDFFRE Chairperson Alan Montgomery said, “Many will remember how the existing Area Plan was published years late with significant gaps. In particular, it is clear that current regional commitments to tackling Global Warming and moving energy policy towards renewable energy were not reflected in the old Area Plan as these subjects were not on the agenda when it was formulated. This has a serious impact on the way planners make decisions and could affect our pilot project. Planner are only required to deal with matters referred to in policy.”

Gary Hawkes, Ulster Farmers Union rural enterprise chairman said, “With ongoing capacity problems continuing to affect grid connection for small scale renewables in Northern Ireland, the UFU believe that this micro-grid solution is an alternative way forward.  If the go ahead is granted, this pilot could be spread out to other rural parts of the country and allow farmers to create community energy networks for their local areas, with much needed storage and distribution solutions. However planning policy must follow regional policy if this is to happen.”

Minister Durkan undertook to arrange follow-up meetings with the Northern Irish Environment Agency, to see how Regional Development Policy could be translated more effectively in Area Planning. He undertook to see how his department could assist Rural Development initiatives around micro-grids and energy storage and how they could support the Invest NI-backed Lecale micro-grid pilot project based in the Bishopscourt and Ardglass areas of County Down.

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WHY WAS MY LAST POST ON THIS PAGE IMPORTANT TO YOU? HOW WILL GLOBAL WARMING AFFECT US HERE?

Globalwarming lecale This NASA diagram shows the effect in Down District if the Greenland Ice Sheet melts and the West Antarctic Ice sheet enters the sea. We become a group of islands and the Ards peninsula starts to disappear under water.

See my website and try other scenarios for yourself www.enright.ie/maps . In April 2013 the level of carbon dioxide in the air went above 400 parts per million for the first time since before humans evolved on the planet. This will have an effect if not stopped.

Aside from impact on the human population, Cambridge scientists predict that over 50% of bird species worldwide will become extinct from global warming with similar impacts on most other life forms.