INFRASTRUCTURE Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that Rathlin Island is to get Northern Ireland’s first community e-transport scheme.
The Minister made the announcement as she visited the island and met with the Rathlin Development and Community Association.
The Minister said: “Rathlin Island is a unique and special place. It has the ambition to be a carbon neutral island and wants to continue to develop its blue green infrastructure.
"I am fully supportive of the strategic aim of the Executive’s Rathlin Island Policy to advance a sustainable island community and I am delighted to announce the development of a community led e-transport scheme for the island which is a major step forward for islanders and visitors alike.
"This community e-car scheme will benefit the wider community, especially the younger and older populations on the island and the e-bike scheme of 20 bikes will initially be available to all islanders and visitors working on the island. In the future the Development Association would like to see it extended for visitors coming to sample the island’s natural beauty.
"This is an exciting development for the people of Rathlin and I am very pleased to be providing this investment through my Blue/Green Fund to help bring about lasting change for people here. This initiative will support sustainable living; protect the environment; and also promote active travel as an everyday form of transport and in doing so, will improve physical and mental health and our local environment.”
Michael Cecil, Chair of the Rathlin Development and Community Association said: “I welcome Minister Mallon’s visit to the island today. We share her vision of a sustainable living and working environment and are delighted to hear of her support for a community e-transport scheme for the island.”
The Minister also visited the East Lighthouse and met staff from NI Water’s Treatment works on the island. This award-winning facility has just had a £1million upgrade. The project involved the construction of a new improved water treatment facility to enhance the water treatment system on the island.
The upgraded treatment process, which is the first solution of its kind across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, consists of a ‘mini’ Magnetic Ion Exchange (MIEX) system which uses a combination of resins to effectively treat the water with no chemical waste produced. This innovative solution secured second place in this year’s Institute of Water (IoW) NI Innovation Awards. The Minister congratulated NI Water on their success.