Skip to main content

Sperrins Management Plan aims to reach new heights

The Sperrins Partnership, a cross council led project including Mid Ulster District Council, has announced details for the development of the first Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan. Development of this plan will be an extension of the work conducted through the Sperrins Future Search initiative in 2017 summed up in words, Reaching New Heights, Realising Our Potential. 

The draft plan will be developed by Sperrins Partnership in consultation with all key partners on behalf of Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), part of the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) who are the project funder. The plan will be formed by putting local communities at the centre of its development.  

The aim of the plan will be to provide guidance on a shared vision for safeguarding and caring for the Sperrins.  It will outline strategies, priorities, and mechanisms for protecting, promoting, and enhancing the special features of the landscape, related heritage, and culture, as well as boosting nature recovery. A guideline framework for action will recognise and support efforts of partners in line with their own remits and resources.
It will also help guide efforts to conserve, enhance, and support the special character of Sperrin AONB and its natural, built, and cultural heritage.  The plan will seek support for local communities to benefit from the AONB, while championing long term sustainability and conservation efforts. 

Sperrin AONB is one of eight AONB across Northern Ireland that was first designated in 1968 and to date, has not benefitted from a management plan unlike the other AONBs across the region.

Chair of Sperrins Partnership, Councillor Sean Clarke, said: 

“This will be the first management plan for the Sperrins following 56 years since it was originally designated by DAERA as a special landscape, back in 1968. The management plan will be developed on behalf of DAERA and NIEA through extensive consultation with key stakeholders and local communities with the aim of identifying the issues facing the area’s exceptional natural environment, and to help ensure that everyone who lives, works or visits can learn from and enjoy the place sustainably.”

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Domonic Molloy welcomed the launch of the plan, saying, 

“It is important that we put down on paper our shared vision for safeguarding and caring for the Sperrins for ourselves and for future generations. In Mid Ulster we are incredibly lucky to have such an unspoilt and tranquil resource on our doorstep, and while we encourage those living, working or visiting here to share this exceptional range, we must do so as custodians of its beauty. The new co-created plan will give us the roadmap to do so, transforming how we and others see, share and experience The Sperrins in the future.”

An extensive consultation exercise is underway, and a number of public events will take place across council areas throughout May and June. Key stakeholders and local communities are encouraged to take part and share their views on the development of the plan. 

In the Mid Ulster District Council area these take place on Tuesday 11 June (12 – 2pm) in Broughderg Hall, Broughderg, and on Thursday 13 June (6.30pm – 8.30pm at An Carn, Maghera. 

For further information or to get involved in the development of the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan visit or watch a short video about the Partnership.