Minister pays visit to Castle Espie on 30th annniversary

Minister pays visit to Castle Espie on 30th annniversary

18 November 2020

THE Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Castle Espie is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The popular visitor facility on the shores of Strangford Lough was visited recently by Stormont agriculture and environment minister Edwin Poots.

He met with staff to learn more about their work in biodiversity and protecting the natural environment.

Mr Poots was given a guided tour of the hugely popular centre during which he saw its work at first hand and listened to the opportunities and the challenges it addresses with respect to nature and climate.

Congratulating the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on its 30 years at Castle Espie, the minister said it carries out valuable work.

He said Castle Espie allowed the public to experience the natural environment, while educating them regarding the value of wetland ecosystems and their benefits to biodiversity, carbon capture, climate change resilience and well-being.

“I am pleased that my Department is able to assist the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in supporting the forthcoming upgrade of their reed-bed filtration system through the Environment Fund,” added Mr Poots.

The Trust has four priority policy areas which include using wetlands to tackle climate change by capturing carbon, reducing flooding, supporting biodiversity and improving human wellbeing.

Castle Espie manager, Paul Stewart, said staff were delighted to welcome Mr Poots and for his recognition of the important work they do on Strangford Lough, one of Europe’s most ecologically important water bodies.

“The reed beds at the centre not only provide a natural way of processing waste water, but also provide habitat for wildlife,” he explained.

“As a charity, the Trust at Castle Espie is dependent on visitors, supporters and volunteers. We remain open to the public and are observing government guidance though the period of lockdown did severely impact us.”

“The assistance of the department in upgrading our reed bed filtration system is particularly welcome and will make an important contribution to the environment and our work here.”