UFU Welcome Latest Comment on National Parks

Friday, 19 October, 2012

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the Environment Ministers comments that as things stand there will be no National Park in the Mournes.  

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “Farmers and the wider community in the Mournes have consistently expressed their outright opposition to a National Park and I am very pleased that Minister Alex Attwood appears to have listened to them and has ruled out a National Park in their area.  The opposition to the idea has been overwhelming”.

Harry Sinclair added; “Whilst the Ministers comments appear to effectively signal the end of the proposal for the Mournes, he has not yet ruled out National Parks in other areas of Northern Ireland.  However I am in no doubt that the level of opposition in the farming community in other potential National Park areas is equally strong and, like their colleagues in the Mournes, they will strongly voice their opposition.  Farmers genuine concerns about issues such as additional bureaucracy, additional restrictions, governance, access, liability, and the impact on the social structure of their areas are all deep rooted and apply equally in every part of Northern Ireland, not just the Mournes”.

Harry Sinclair re-iterated his view that only the people living within any possible National Park, rather that those who live outside that think it is a good idea, should ultimately decide if such a designation will be of benefit to them and their area.  He said he was pleased with the Minister’s acknowledgement that a National Park “can not be imposed”. Harry Sinclair said the UFU fully supported the objective of developing tourism and job creation in Northern Ireland’s rural areas, but this could be achieved more effectively if the funding earmarked for the establishment and operation of National Parks was instead re-directed at tourism promotion and supporting infrastructure development.