A consultation period on the draft Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2022- 2027 has now commenced.

The consultation period opened on Monday, December 13 last and remains open for responses until Friday, March 18.

The Council’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan explores the unique biodiversity of the district from the rare boglands to the common garden bird. It also encompasses the biodiversity crisis that is unfolding worldwide, and the practical steps the Council can take to restore biodiversity locally.

A more sustainable future has been an aspiration at a global, national, regional and local level over the last five years in particular.

This aspiration is reflected through other Council strategies such as the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2020-2030, and the Council’s Corporate Plan and Performance Improvement Plans where restoring and improving the biodiversity of the area is a key action plan.

Speaking at the launch of the consultation period, the Chair of the Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, said: “The uniqueness of our hills, lakes, rivers, caves, woodlands and bogs is underpinned by healthy ecosystems, which are rich in wildlife and teeming with variety.

"However, we must acknowledge that those ecosystems and wildlife are under threat at a global, regional and local level.”

The Council, through the delivery of its Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, aims to increase biodiversity action locally through three main actions, including to protect and enhance biodiversity on Council-managed estate; increase awareness and action for local biodiversity in the district; and to work in partnership with others to deliver biodiversity action in the district.

From embracing the ‘Don’t Mow, Let it Grow’ campaign, to planting more native trees, as well as protecting the wildlife within the Council’s estate, the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is wide-reaching and aspires to work in partnership with schools, communities and stakeholders to delivery it.

As part of the consultation process and to recognise the contribution of members of the public, participants in the process will be entered into a draw for a Biodiversity Kit, which includes a bird nest box, a native Rowan tree, native wildflower seeds, a wildlife gardening book and ID guides, and for individual winners, a signed copy of 'Diary of a Young Naturalist', by Dara McAnulty.

School winners will receive the same package; however, they will receive a copy of Dara’s latest book, 'Wild Child; A Journey Through Nature'. There are five kits available for individuals and five for schools.

If you would like to contribute to the consultation on the draft Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, email biodiversity@fermanaghomagh.com or complete the online survey on the Council website at www.fermanaghomagh.com before Friday, March 18.