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Biodiversity

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding the Government have provided for biodiversity education (a) overall in the Province and (b) at Oxford Island Nature Reserve in each of the last five years. (99479)

The majority of government funding on biodiversity education is contributed through the Department of the Environment’s Environment and Heritage Service (EHS). EHS provides funding in the form of grant aid to district councils, schools, community groups and environmental non-government organisations. EHS also provides direct environmental education to schools and the wider public.

The spend by EHS is summarised as follows.

£000

Direct spend

Grant aid

Total

2005-06

383

700

1,466

2004-05

310

220

840

2003-04

457

245

1,159

2002-03

175

80

430

2001-02

175

46

396

Five year total

1,500

1,291

4,291

Average per year

300

258

858

Following the publication of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy in 2002 the spend has increased substantially and the total annual spend on biodiversity education in the last three years has averaged over £l million per annum.

During the past five years EHS has supported either a conservation officer or a local biodiversity action plan officer within Craigavon borough council to a total of £91,000 over five years. The officer is based at Oxford Island and part of their role has included support for the interpretation of biodiversity within the Oxford Island National Nature Reserve.

Conservation officer

Local biodiversity officer

Total

2005-06

23,257

23,257

2004-05

13,779

23,232

37,011

2003-04

8,671

8,671

2002-03

11,546

11,546

2001-02

11,025

11,025