The strategic strand of the Environment Fund has been opened for applications by Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots.

The competition is open to not-for-profit organisations and councils to create projects that deliver key environmental outcomes across Northern Ireland.

In opening the competition, Minister Poots said: “The Environment Fund has supported the delivery of key environmental outcomes by the environmental Not-for-Profit sector for many years.

“I hope the new Environment Fund will successfully deliver against new and emerging environmental priorities and deliver benefits for us all.

“The passion of the organisations improving our environment is growing year on year and I have seen at first hand the levels of partnership working and volunteer enthusiasm within the sector.

“I have been highly impressed by the work that they do, which is contributing to the safeguarding and improvement of our precious environment for future generations.”

Minister Poots continued:

“The fund will help us to continue to deliver the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs strategic aims and those in the programme for government.

“It enables environmental organisations to improve the condition of our habitats and species and build their resilience to climate change; support green growth and the preservation of our peatlands; improve the quality of fresh and coastal waters; enhance health and well-being through provision of access; and increase the understanding and appreciation and engagement with our environment.

“We engage regularly with the environment sector and are aware that the fund is a key source of funding for them.

“For example, last year the fund committed over £8 million to support 38 organisations to deliver environmental projects.

“This enables organisations to secure additional match funding from other sources and supports a wide range of jobs throughout our society.”