£8,000 support for North West Greenway initiative

(file pic) The Department for Infrastructure is providing support to councils in the development of greenways.

(file pic) The Department for Infrastructure is providing support to councils in the development of greenways.

Funding has been secured for a feasibility study into the proposed North West Greenway.

Derry and Strabane Council has received an £8,000 grant for the project.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard today (Wednesday) has given the green light to 1,000 kilometres of greenways as he publishes his Strategic Plan to develop a network of paths across Northern Ireland, including cross-border connections.

The paths, for use by walkers, runners and cyclists, will be traffic free and many will utilise disused railways, riverside paths, abandoned canal towpaths or flood embankments.

Mr Hazzard said: “More and more people are choosing to be active with their travel options and encouraging everyone to lead a more active, healthy life by providing local opportunities is something I and my Executive colleagues are determined to deliver.

“The greenway paths will connect towns and cities to the villages and countryside from east to west and north to south and will also be integrated with other modes of transport making it easier for people to leave the car behind.”

The minister also revealed the local councils who have secured funding to support and develop greenway projects in their area under a small grants competition.

He continued: “I am delighted that councils have been part of the development process for this strategic plan and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years. To demonstrate my commitment, I have more than doubled the initial funding for the grants scheme from £64,000 to £160,000. This means that feasibility studies can be worked up on 20 different proposals right across the north to help councils deliver greenways in their areas in line with this Strategic Plan.”

The department is currently considering a capital grant scheme to assist councils further in the delivery of their greenway schemes.

Jonathan Hobbs, from the NI Greenways campaign, said: “It’s encouraging to see so many councils proposing visionary greenway projects across the country with support from the Department for Infrastructure to realise their vision. “This is an exciting first step towards creating a world class greenway network, which will be a welcome investment in rural development and active travel, enhancing our tourism offering and creating long term employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.”