Management Plan aims to reach new heights for Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Management Plan aims to reach new heights for Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Tue, May 07, 2024

The Sperrins Partnership, a cross Council led project including Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has announced details for the development of the first Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan.

Development of this plan will be an extension of the great work conducted through the Sperrins Future Search initiative in 2017 summed up in words, ‘Reaching New Heights, Realising Our Potential’.

The plan will be developed by Sperrins Partnership in consultation with all key partners on behalf of Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an agency within the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), who are also the project funder. The plan will be formed by putting local communities at the centre of its development. 

The aim of the plan is to provide guidance on a shared vision for safeguarding and caring for the Sperrins.  It will outline strategies, priorities and mechanisms for protecting, promoting and enhancing the special features of the landscape, related heritage and culture as well as boost nature recovery. A guideline framework for action will recognise and support efforts of partners in line with their own remits and resources.

It will also help guide efforts to conserve, enhance, and support, the special character of Sperrin AONB and its natural, built, and cultural heritage.  The plan will seek support for local communities to benefit from the AONB, while championing long term sustainability and conservation efforts.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “Council welcomes the Sperrins Management Plan and is committed to supporting the sustainable use and enjoyment of the Sperrins.

“It is more important than ever to protect our natural environment and take steps such as this to protect the area we call home.

“I look forward to cross Council collaboration and partnership working on this new management plan and would encourage residents to feed into the consultation.”

Sperrin AONB is one of eight AONB across Northern Ireland that was first designated in 1968 and to date has not benefitted from a management plan unlike the other AONB across the region.

Chair of Sperrins Partnership, Cllr Sean Clarke, said: “This will be the first management plan for the Sperrins following 56 years since it was originally designated by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) as a special landscape, back in 1968.

“The management plan will be developed on behalf of DAERA and Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) through extensive consultation with key stakeholders and local communities with the aim to identify issues facing the area’s exceptional natural environment, and to help ensure that everyone who lives, works our visits can learn from, and enjoy the place sustainably.”

An extensive consultation exercise is underway, and a number of public events will take place across council areas throughout May and June. Key stakeholders and local communities are encouraged to take part and share their views on the development of the plan. 

For further information or to get involved in the development of the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan visit

Sperrins Partnership Chair Councillor Sean Clarke, Causeway Coast and Glens Coast and Countryside Manager Richard Gillen,  Michael Gillespie NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency).