Government officials from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland came together yesterday in Co Donegal for the official launch of the North West Greenway Network. The €14.85m project is one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the north west of Ireland which will deliver 46.5km of new cross-border greenway.
A unique element of the project is that Sustrans has appointed an Active Travel Officer who will undertake an engagement programme with local schools, workplaces and communities to raise awareness of the greenway, before and during its construction, and encourage commuters to swop their cars for cycling and walking.
Derry City & Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and Sustrans will work in partnership on the project. It has been funded under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
“ Greenways are a great way to connect people and places, on a cross-border basis. ”
The Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, thanked Sustrans and all the partners in his speech at the launch function in An Grianán Hotel, in Burt, Donegal.
“We have an opportunity, through our commitment in the Programme for Partnership government, and in our new National Planning Framework and National Development Plan to build more greenways throughout Ireland and to provide more localities with the opportunity to benefit from such investment in the same way as communities in Mayo, Waterford, Monaghan and Armagh,” he said.
“I very much look forward to making use of it (the greenway) in the future and I encourage you all to do likewise.”
Peter May, DfI Permanent Secretary said:
“The Department for Infrastructure’s Exercise – Explore – Enjoy: a Strategic Plan for Greenways document sets out an ambition for the creation of a 1,000km network across Northern Ireland with the intention of promoting active travel and strongly supporting improved health and wellbeing for everyone. This project fits exceptionally well with the sustainable travel agenda of the Department and is an excellent example of cross-border cooperation and partnership between Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council.”
Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB said:
“Greenways are a great way to connect people and places, on a cross-border basis. They provide travel routes for commuters, reduce our dependence on cars, decrease carbon emissions and promote the physical health and well-being of those using them.”
Commenting on the appointment of the Active Travel Officer, Gordon Clarke, National Director of Sustrans Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the new officer to work with schools, workplaces and communities to create the maximum modal shift towards sustainable active travel.”
The North West Greenway Network will consist of three routes:
- Route 1: L~Derry via Pennyburn and Bridgend border crossing to Buncrana/Letterkenny, Co Donegal via Tooban junction – 32.5km (this includes linking Inch Nature Reserve to Newtowncunningham)
- Route 2: Muff village, Co Donegal to L~Derry via Culmore and Muff border crossing and Culmore – 10.5km
- Route 3: Strabane, Co Tyrone to Lifford, Co Donegal via Lifford Bridge – 3.5km