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THE FUTURE OF LOUGH NEAGH

Its potential – our shared responsibility?

Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in Britain and Ireland, with a surface area of 383km2. The Lough makes up approximately 125km of shoreline, impacting on the local authority areas of Antrim & Newtownabbey, Mid Ulster, Mid & East Antrim, Lisburn & Castlereagh, and Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon.

It provides water, jobs, minerals, fish, leisure and a rich and varied natural environment. It has local, national and international environmental designations, including:-

  • Area of Scientific Interest (1965) re-designated ASSI (1992)
  • Ramsar Site from 1973 because of the very large numbers of wintering wildfowl
  • 8 Nature Reserves
  • Special Protection Area (from 1998) under European Habitats legislation

Yet many see the Lough and its surrounds as a tremendous natural asset which still has much unrealised potential in terms of the economic, social and environmental benefits it might offer local people and communities.