Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, has visited an award-winning biodiversity project in Aughnacloy.
The Minister toured a wetland development at Tullyvar landfill site, which was the recent recipient of a Sustainable Ireland award for its treatment of leachate, resulting in reduced air pollution, reduced landfill aftercare costs, increased biodiversity and the improved long-term sustainability of the site.
Visiting the award winning project, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said:
“Sustainability is at the heart of protecting and enriching our environment. I thoroughly commend the collaborative work of Mid Ulster Council and Fermanagh & Omagh Council in achieving the award for Biodiversity Project of the Year at the recent Sustainable Ireland Awards. I would like to congratulate the Elected Members and Officers of both councils on this tremendous achievement and the visionary leadership they have shown in the environmental stewardship of the Tullyvar site.”
Tullyvar is operated jointly by Mid Ulster District Council and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and was formerly a disused quarry which became one of the first fully engineered landfill sites in Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the Minister to Tullyvar, Councillor Robert Mulligan, Chair of the Tullyvar Joint Committee, said:
“While we prioritise recycling and the re-use of materials to reduce the amount of waste which goes to landfill in the first place, we must also work to ensure that the sites are as sustainable as possible.
“Tullyvar is an example of how innovative thinking and best practice methods can bring environmental benefits, and we’re delighted that the Minister was able to see them for himself”.
Councillor Allan Rainey from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council added that Tullyvar has been a leader in ensuring the sustainability of the landfill site and maintaining high environmental standards for the site.
“This wetlands development initiative is the latest in a range of projects to manage the site. Several years ago we developed a renewable project, harnessing landfill gas to produce electricity. Approximately 5000 tonnes of landfill gas produces enough electricity for the equivalent of 800 homes”, he said.
The Minister also took the opportunity to visit a nearby nature garden in Ballygawley, where gardeners meeting for an autumnal gardening workshop were also presented with rosettes for their work during the spring and summer growing season.
The garden focuses on biodiversity, local food growing and sustainable consumption and consists of a small wildlife area with a number of raised beds for community growing.
It was developed by the Council in consultation with Ballygawley Area Development Association and the local community and received funding under the Landfill Communities Fund through Groundwork NI.
All seven of the growing spaces have been rented out to local residents who are growing a range of produce and who receive guidance and practical support from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) thanks to Public Health Agency funding.