EU funding announced to improve water quality in Carlingford Lough

EU funding announced to improve water quality in Carlingford Lough

Funding of €3.28 million has been announced by the Special EU Programmes Body to help improve the water quality of Carlingford Lough.

The cross-border funding has been put forward by SEUPB under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, with a portion of the money also going towards Lough Foyle.

The project is called SWELL (Shared Waters Enhancement and Loughs Legacy) and involves a detailed investigation into the causes of water pollution on both sides of the border.

For the first time ever, it will bring together key state-owned water companies from Northern Ireland and Ireland as it will be delivered by both NI Water and Irish Water, in partnership with the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, the Loughs Agency and East Border Region Ltd.

The funding award also has the potential to unlock up to an additional €32 million worth of support from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme to improve wastewater treatment assets that will benefit 10,000 people on a cross-border basis.

The additional funding available to the project will be used in the upgrade and construction of wastewater treatment facilities within the Carlingford Lough drainage basin in Newry, Mourne & Down and Louth County Council areas as well as the Lough Foyle drainage basin comprising Derry City & Strabane and Donegal council areas.

Upon its conclusion the project will contribute towards improving the status and regional compliance with the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) in respect of transitional and coastal waters found in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle and driving a common approach to the management of water resources.

Importantly, the project will also leave a unique ‘legacy’ model, which for the first time will link various aspects of environmental modelling which will be carried out in the catchments of the respective loughs. This legacy model will assist the regulatory bodies on both sides of the border by identifying approaches to achieving further improvement of overall water quality.

Announcing the funding Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB which is responsible for the management of the INTERREG VA Programme, said: “Environmental issues do not recognise nor respect international boundaries. Therefore it is essential that they are tackled on a cross-border basis.

“By treating each Lough catchment as a single ecosystem, which is impacted by polluters on both sides of the border, this project is truly collaborative in nature. As such it will create a model of co-operation that can be used as a foundation for any future improvement projects for our shared waters,” she continued.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.

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