Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon confirmed her intention to proceed with the Enniskillen Southern Bypass scheme and make the statutory orders, having considered all of the environmental information and responses to the consultation of the scheme and the draft orders.
Minister Mallon said: “I have made it plain that my focus is on doing what I can to improve the lives of people in Northern Ireland. I have made clear my commitment to making road improvements to tackle regional imbalance, improving the economy, job opportunities, connecting communities and improving road safety. In June last year, I asked officials to work at pace to continue the development of a number of strategic road schemes, including the Enniskillen Southern Bypass. The necessary scheme development work has now been completed and I am pleased to announce a decision to proceed with the scheme in Enniskillen.”
Continuing, the Minister said: “I acutely recognise that this scheme is of significant importance to the town of Enniskillen and the surrounding area. It will provide a new transport link to the southern side of the town, improving the connection between the A4 Dublin Road and the A4 Sligo Road. The bypass will also help to significantly alleviate traffic congestion in Enniskillen town centre, reducing delays, improving average journey times by approximately 50% and improving road safety.
“To reshape our places and kick start our green recovery, I am also pleased to announced that as part of my commitment to deliver green and sustainable infrastructure this scheme will also serve to enhance the town centre environment by improving air quality and noise levels and will see the introduction of active travel measures to enhance the experience of locals and visitors alike.”
Progression of the scheme to construction stage will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures, and in securing the necessary funding in future years.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk Pre-Booking System is a Summer Success
The car park pre-booking system, which launched in June of this year, has welcomed almost 5,000 bookings in three months.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk’s official car park has received almost 5,000 bookings within three months of launching its online booking system, theboardwalk.ie.
The booking system was created earlier this year with the aim of facilitating more effective crowd management and social distancing regulations, controlling numbers during the peak season and ensuring the safety of all staff and visitors.
With hopes of also fostering sustainable, green tourism at the popular Fermanagh landmark, the limited visitor numbers better enable the protection of the grounds and surrounding habitat by controlling the heavy footfall often experienced at the Instagram-worthy attraction. This was the original cause that led to the original construction of the boardwalk by UNESCO-endorsed Cuilcagh Lakeland Geopark, with the paths meandering through one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland.
The online bookings have come from all across the island of Ireland as people have enjoyed staycations, bank holidays and two unprecedented heatwaves this summer. While the initiative has received initial success, the bookings only represent a small percentage of walkers currently visiting the boardwalk each day and the mountain trail aims to see more visitors doing their part and pre-booking their car parking space in the months ahead.
Speaking on the success of the online system to date, local farmer, Cuilcagh landowner and car park operator, John Sheridan commented:
“This online system marked an important first step in the long-term redevelopment plans for Cuilcagh Boardwalk, and the number of online bookings to date indicates that we are successfully engaging with and encouraging walkers to be more environmentally conscious during their visit.
With that said, our work is not done. We want to encourage 100% visitors to pre-book their car parking space, so that we can safely control numbers on the boardwalk each day and reduce the impact of high-volume visitor traffic.”
Cuilcagh Boardwalk is also now part of the national Leave No Trace education programme, which focuses on developing a national ethic that protects both natural and cultural heritage by minimising the environmental and social impacts of tourism on some of the country’s most popular visitor attractions.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk’s online car park booking system comes as part of early development plans for the mountain trail and is determined to remain a sustainable, environmentally mindful area for all to enjoy.
Wild About the Workhouse Wildlife Walks in Enniskillen
Did you know there are eight species of bats in Northern Ireland or that swifts, on leaving their nest for the first time, are airborne for 2-3 years before they land for the first time!
Would you like to learn more about bats, swifts and local wildlife in Enniskillen?
If so, registration is now open to join a ‘Wild About the Workhouse’ guided walk taking place around Enniskillen on Friday 2 July and Friday 23 July 2021 at 8.30 pm.
These walks, organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, are part of the Enniskillen Workhouse Project in partnership with South West College with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Enniskillen Workhouse is currently home to swifts during the spring and summer months and bats potentially all year round.
Nesting swifts and bats are both protected species, therefore, as part of the restoration of the workhouse to create a business enterprise and heritage hub, the Council is protecting and enhancing the nesting and roosting spaces that are there by following specialist guidance on construction timings, building advice and appropriate mitigation.
The walks will be on footpaths and walkways around Enniskillen town at night taking in Enniskillen Castle and Fermanagh Lakeland Forum.
To find out more and book your place on a ‘Wild About the Workhouse’ guided walk, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis as numbers are restricted to 15 per walk.