“Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands that does not have National Parks”

The Northern Ireland Environment Minister, the SDLP’s Alex Attwood, may have a shortlist of potential National Parks – the Mournes, the Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens, and the Fermanagh Lakelands – but he doesn’t have the required legislation in place.  As the BBC report notes

The minister said he hopes to designate two of the three as National Parks.

“Northern Ireland is the only part of these islands that does not have National Parks,” he said. “It is time to grasp the opportunity.”

The minister said that if established, the parks “would advertise the scale and wonder of our heritage and create jobs in times of need”.

He is now seeking legislation that will enable him to designate the areas as National Parks.

From the ministerial press release

The Minister said that he believed that now was the time for Northern Ireland legislation for National Parks: “I am circulating a paper to Executive Colleagues recommending they endorse the principle of National Parks legislation. I hope to achieve this before the July holidays.

Hmm…  And from the notes to the editors

  • The enabling legislation will give the DOE updated powers to designate areas as national parks. The designation of particular areas as national parks will take place through subordinate legislation after a further period of public consultation.

Somewhat putting the cart before the horse then…