Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots visits Rathlin Island

New DUP leader hears of the island’s carbon neutral plans

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots visits Rathlin Island

Minister Edwin Poots with Chief Fisheries Officer Mark McCaughan and Principal Scientific Officer Colin Armstrong viewing the thousands of seabirds comprising razor-bills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwa

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

AGRICULTURE, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, has visited Rathlin Island to see its wide variety of seabirds and hear of the Island’s ambitious plans to become carbon neutral.

During his visit, Minister Poots met with representatives from The Rathlin Development and Community Association who have a strong ambition for the Island to become carbon neutral and have been exploring a number of renewable energy options.

The Association is a partner in the Clean Energy for EU islands project, which aims to provide a long-term framework to help islands generate their own sustainable, low cost energy; resulting in reduced energy costs and greatly increased production of renewable energy; better energy security for islands, which will be less reliant on imports; improved air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and less impact on islands' natural environments, as well as the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, boosting the islands' economic self-sufficiency.

Welcoming the Island’s ambitions, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to visit Rathlin and meet with the local community.

"I admire Rathlin’s strong ambition to reduce emissions and become carbon neutral, this is aligned to my vision for Green Growth and climate action and I very much welcome the Island’s efforts to realise this goal.”

Rathlin Island is also Northern Ireland’s most important seabird colony and in summer the sea cliffs and sea stacks provide nesting sites for a variety of seabirds, including nationally important colonies of guillemot, razorbill and kittiwake.

During his visit, the Minister enjoyed a boat trip to observe the puffins and other iconic seabirds at their nesting site.

More on this story in Tuesday's Chronicle.

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