DOE’S DESIGNATION OF ‘AREAS OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY’ QUESTIONED

Green Party Cllr Cadogan Enright(R) & Lecale Conservation member John Peacocke (L) at Tyrella Beach on the East Down Coast – Photo by Raphael Mason

DOWN Councillor Cadogan Enright has criticised new AONB designations on the East Down coast from the Department of the Environment.

Cadogan Enright said, “There are serious anomalies in the AONB proposal. In particular the revocation of AONB status for Tyrella’s blue flag beach and Miners town’s wildlife beach stand out as utterly astonishing. It is completely ironic that the car park at ASDA and McDonalds take-away in Downpatrick are proposed to be newly designated an AONB. This makes no sense and has left many local people perplexed”.

Cllr Enright said “The iconic view from St. John’s point back towards the Mournes ranks with the Giants causeway as the gems of the environment and a tourism magnet in NI. Withdrawing AONB status for this area will damage our growing tourist industry, one of the few sustainable industries in the area that we have direct control over.”

Lecale Friends of the Earth spokesperson Keith Bradford said “The AONB is designated by the Department based on landscape quality criteria. The fact that the boundary has been extended around Strangford Lough is an indication that the landscape is of high quality and that has to be welcomed. However we don’t understand why the area between Dundrum Bay and Tyrella and adjacent farmland has been omitted. This area has been improving since it last was designated under the old legislation.”

John Peacocke of Lecale Conservation said that “that Down District Council are introducing byelaws to manage the coast Minerstown area to protect wildlife. This area and it has been identified by them as an area suitable for the promotion of “green” tourism. The District Policing Partnership have also moved the boundaries of the PSNI’s areas of operation to enable them to police the byelaws introduced at Minerstown. It makes no sense that this are be excluded”.

Downpatrick Cllr Cadogan Enright concluded “As a public representative for the Lecale coast I am sure that I speak for an overwhelming majority of local people on this issue. The huge amount of work conducted by Down District Council to develop Minerstown as a centre for Green Tourism and the work down the years to get blue flag beach at Tyrella has created magnets of sustainable tourism development in South Down. To leave this area out of the designation is economic and environmental vandalism on the part of the Department of the Environment.”

NIEA AONB Consultation can be viewed at www.ni-environment.gov.uk or obtained by by email at protectinglandscapes@doeni.gov.uk

Press Cuttings – Takeaway car park is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty… but not Tyrella’s blue flag beach!, Local beaches excluded, AONB Local Press Front Page, Enright’s welcome for television agreement.