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CBO grant cuts – your continued support is essential to us!

This week the Department of the Environment (DoE) announced drastic cuts to the funding which they provide to a range of environmental organisations across Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, Copeland Bird Observatory was not immune to this severe action and it is with deep regret that we have received word that our entire Natural Heritage Grant has been slashed/terminated.

Like so many of our fellow environmental sector NGOs, we expected a significant reduction in our Natural Heritage grant, but we are still astonished that any NI government would consider completely cutting this massively important source of funding.

The Natural Heritage grant allowed CBO to maintain an intensive habitat management and restoration programme – essential to our nationally important colony of Manx Shearwaters – continue with our ongoing (for sixty years) seabird and passerine ringing operations AND helped the Northern Ireland Government meet its statutory obligations, under European Law, as regards monitoring and reporting on priority species within the Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and Special Protection Areas (SPA). This high-quality service was provided, for relatively little outlay, by CBO volunteers.

Failure to adequately monitor and report on our protected areas could lead to Northern Ireland failing to meet our commitments to European Directives such as water quality, biodiversity, air quality, habitats and birds; which, in turn, will lead to Northern Ireland being fined for non-compliance. Fines which will amount to totals much greater than the £1.5m cut from the Natural Heritage Grant Programme. In the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively small amount for the DoE to pay for the support and information they receive from groups across NI.

You can find out more about the impact of these cuts on environmental NGOs on the Northern Ireland Environment Link Facebook page.

In terms of CBO, the loss of this grant will not stop us from continuing to actively monitor and manage one of Northern Ireland’s most important wildlife sites. Your help, however, will be critical.

Here’s how…

Please consider becoming a member of CBO or, if you’re already a member, renew your membership now!

By visiting the Island you not only support the Observatory financially through your visit fees, but you also contribute to over 60 years of data monitoring the wildlife here, some of which is found nowhere else in Northern Ireland. Remember, you don’t even have to be a birdwatcher or ringer – you can help in so many other ways.

You can help the Observatory by fund-raising or making a donation. The loss of NIEA funding will make operating the Observatory very difficult as the cost of providing the boat service is the main financial challenge which we face.

This will be a difficult year for CBO and we face many challenges, so we appreciate the help and assistance from all our supporters.