ASCENT, a new innovative project to collectively address the environmental challenges facing seven northern European upland areas, will be officially launched by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Terence Slowey on Thursday, 20th October, 2016.
This event will take place in the Dunlewey Community Centre, in the shadows of the iconic Errigal mountain, which is one of the pilot sites chosen for this project.
Unregulated access to upland sites and natural erosion has meant that some areas of natural beauty have experienced degradation, loss of unique bio-diversity and bio-resources. In response, the ASCENT project, an acronym for ‘Apply Skills and Conserve our Environment with New Tools’ sets out to develop management plans and implement innovative measure that will address future economic and environmental sustainability.
Charles Sweeney Project Manager for ASCENT explains that ‘the key objectives are to undertake international learning and to transfer that collective knowledge across the partner regions, in an effort to design practical solutions and to trial new initiatives and concepts for sustainable environmental management’.
The three year project involves Donegal County Council as lead partner, working collaboratively with Metsáhallitus Park and Wildlife in Finland, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and the Mourne Trust in Northern Ireland, Hordaland County Council in Norway, and the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland and associated partners including Údarás na Gaeltachta, Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, Mossfellsbaer Municipality and Skaftárhreppur.
Liam Ward, Director of Community, Enterprise and Planning Control in Donegal County Council welcomed the funding from Interreg VB Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme (2014-2020) with support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for this significant project. He added that ‘the landscape quality of our mountain areas must be maintained and conserved and in bringing together all of the stakeholders, project partners and engaging with our local communities ASCENT will make a very positive contribution towards the sustainable management of our upland areas’.
To coincide with the project launch, visiting delegates from Iceland, Finland, Norway and Northern Ireland will participate in the inaugural steering committee meeting on the 19th October in County Donegal.
For more information on ASCENT visit http://www.interreg-npa.eu/projects/funded-projects/project/157/