Shared Island Funding Awarded for Cross-Border Projects
Ards and North Down Borough Council has been allocated a portion of the €4.3m made available through the Shared Island Local Authority Development Funding Scheme.
Over the next 12 months, the Council will work collaboratively with a number of Ireland’s local authorities on four key cross-border projects that are spread across a range of sectors. They will enable local authorities to progress schemes that deliver local and regional development goals.
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, said:
“This funding is great news for the Borough. It will help to encourage collaboration across the island on initiatives with a common purpose, ultimately benefiting the people of Ards and North Down. The Council is looking forward to working together with our partners to help deliver these ambitious and far-reaching projects.”
The projects include:
Four Points of Ireland
Working with Kerry, Cork and Donegal County Councils, Ards and North Down Borough Council will carry out a feasibility study to investigate how the four points of our island can be developed and promoted by a linked series of tourism projects.
Burr Point is the most easterly point on the island and is located close to Ballyhalbert. It is adjacent to the picturesque Ballyhalbert harbour and overlooks Burial Island. Working with other local authorities and linking with other ‘points’ of the island could create unique tourism opportunities and boost tourism spend in the Borough.
Working with 10 councils across the island, this is a feasibility study to scope the development and economic return of an all-island walking route. The concept route is based on a spiritual pilgrim route from Mount Leinster, the birthplace of Columbanus, via County Fermanagh to Bangor, where Columbanus set sail for Europe.
A section of the Columban Way already exists between Comber and Bangor. It stretches for approximately 20 miles and takes in a number of key historical sites including the Somme Museum, North Down Museum and Bangor Abbey. This section was the first to be launched on the island and the ambition is to create a 400-mile, cross-border trail that will link to similar trails across Europe, enticing more visitors to the Borough.
Coastal Erosion Prevention
Coastal erosion is a particular issue along the east coast of the island and is anticipated to increase due to rising sea levels and climate change. Ards and North Down Borough Council will be working with Louth and Meath County Councils, as well as Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, on this feasibility study. It will explore sustainable, nature-based solutions to coastal erosion in the East Border Region.
This project will build on work that has been carried out in recent years by Ards Peninsula Coastal Erosion Group (APCEG), on which Ards and North Down Borough Council has representation. APCEG has been lobbying for centralised, coordinated action on coastal erosion and coastal change management. The project will contribute to the building of an evidence base upon which to take coastal change management forward in the future.
Zero-carbon HGV Roadmaps
Working with five councils, this is a feasibility study to identify renewable energy options for powering large trucks and develop zero-carbon HGV roadmaps, helping to meet emission targets. It will consider hydrogen fuels for HGVs and the infrastructure required.
This builds on the progress that Ards and North Down Borough Council has already made with renewable energy sources. A number of bin lorries have been fitted with solar technology, helping to reduce fuel consumption, running costs and carbon emissions. The Zero-carbon HGV Roadmaps project could eventually help the entire fleet to move to renewable energy.