Mallon to fund ‘greening’ of alleyways across Northern Ireland
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon today announced plans to provide funding to support the ‘greening’ of alleyways across Northern Ireland.
The funding will support community led projects that make alleyways and other similar spaces more attractive through planting, as well as improving accessibility for walking, cycling and other activities which will enhance health and well-being for local residents.
Announcing the initiative, Minister Mallon said:
“I am aware that a number of local communities have taken steps to ‘green’ alleyways and other similar spaces within their areas and the benefits that this brings. I have seen this at first hand in Ardoyne in North Belfast and when in October I visited an example of such a scheme at Ardmore/Rossmore Avenues in Belfast and saw how it made a real difference to the lives of people living there.
“‘Greening’ alleyways not only helps to improve the appearance of these spaces but also helps to enhance community pride, reduce antisocial behaviour and generally improve the environment, helping to promote walking, cycling and other activities. In June I announced a £20m blue/green infrastructure fund which includes funding for community led projects supported by my Department to promote active travel and to shape our places to live in the new normal. I am delighted today to announce my commitment to fund these type of interventions, working in partnership with local Councils to improve the lives of their residents.
“In these challenging times it is important that we create more opportunities for active travel and take steps to improve people’s physical and mental health. I am committed to doing all I can to address these issues for people across Northern Ireland.
“I have written to local Councils to invite them to scope the opportunities that exist to develop small scale green spaces in urban areas within their individual Council areas, and apply to my Department for funding. It is my intention that this will be a rolling programme, with allocations being funded based on budgets on a year by year basis.”
The majority of alleyways are not in the ownership of the Department for Infrastructure. However there is scope under Section 29 of the Local Government Finance Act (NI) 2011 for the Department to provide funding to Councils for such initiatives.
Councils would then be able to carry out interventions directly themselves, or provide funding to communities, for example under the power of general competency provided by Section 79 of the Local Government Act (NI) 2014.
On receipt of applications from Councils, DfI will assess proposals against the criteria below, and will engage with Councils to determine an appropriate funding allocation.
Have the support of local residents;
Include a commitment from local communities to maintain them over the medium and long term;
Make environmental improvements to alleyways and other similar spaces;
Include planting, to provide small scale green spaces in urban areas; and
Make alleyways and other similar spaces more attractive and accessible for walking, cycling and other activities which will enhance health and well-being for local residents.