Ballykelly set to go batty for the north’s ‘first ever bat conference’

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Ballykelly is to play host next month to what organisers say is the first ever bat conference in Northern Ireland.

The event, scheduled to take place on March 6, will be attended by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan and the deputy Mayor of Limavady, UUP Colr. Jack Rankin.

Creggan Country Park has received £6,885 from the NIEA Challenge Fund 2015 to deliver the conference in the Drummond Hotel with the help of NIEA, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Bat Conservation Trust and Bat Conservation Ireland.

Speakers include Bat Conservation Trust London, Bat Conservation Ireland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime.

Delegates include all councils across Northern Ireland, environment organisations, planning offices, developers, architects, builders, renewable energy installers and tree surgeons.

The conference is free, funded by the NIEA Challenge Fund 2015, and is to provide an in-depth understanding of bats, which are a European Protected Species.

Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, Creggan Country Park said: “The bat conference is the first event of its kind in Northern Ireland and we are delighted to welcome speakers from various organisations.

“After the conference, we hope that delegates will be equipped with the knowledge of when to take action to ensure that bats are considered throughout any capital development proposal.”