A new project to be launched this week seeks a collective approach to addressing the environmental challenges facing Errigal and six other northern European upland areas.
The Ascent project, for Apply Skills and Conserve our Environment with New Tools, will be launched on Thursday, October 20, at the Dunlewey Community Centre, at the base of Errigal.
Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, will launch the three-year initiative, which will see the county council as the lead partner working collaboratively with Metsáhallitus Park and Wildlife in Finland; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Mourne Trust in Northern Ireland; Hordaland County Council in Norway; and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland.
Charles Sweeney of Donegal County Council, the project manager for Ascent, said, “The key objectives are to undertake international learning and to transfer that collective knowledge across the partner regions, in an effort to design practical solutions and to trial new initiatives and concepts for sustainable environmental management.”
Unregulated access to upland sites, and natural erosion, has led to degradation of some areas of natural beauty, as well as the loss of unique biodiversity and bioresources. Ascent sets out to development management plans and implement measures to address future economic and environmental sustainability.
Associated partners in the project include Údarás na Gaeltachta, Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, Mossfellsbaer Municipality and Skaftárhreppur.
Liam Ward, county council director of community, enterprise and planning control, welcomed funding for the project from Interreg VB Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme (2014-2020) with support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
“The landscape quality of our mountain areas must be maintained and conserved and in bringing together all of the stakeholders, project partners and engaging with our local communities Ascent will make a very positive contribution towards the sustainable management of our upland areas,” Mr. Ward said.
Visiting delegates from Iceland, Finland, Norway and Northern Ireland will participate in the inaugural steering committee meeting on October 19th in Donegal.