Anna Lo MLA said:”I am very disappointed that the Environment Minister has shelved his Department’s plans for legislation to establish Northern Ireland’s first National Park. I hope that this will not be the end of the issue and that he will return to the Assembly in the future with revised plans and perhaps a different approach than his predecessor, by working with stakeholders.
“In the meantime, I would urge the Minister to direct resources to upgrade the management and protection of the six existing ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. I am concerned that at present, not enough is being done to look after these areas once they have been designated.
“There are clear benefits to be gained from having a national park, by improving the prestige of the area, boosting tourism and protecting the local environment. National Parks in the rest of the UK, such as Loch Lomond, Snowdonia and the Lake District, have brought benefits for both the environment and local land owners.”