50 farmers get on board with scheme to improve habitat for Lough Neagh birds

Lapwing at Lough Neagh
Lapwing at Lough Neagh

Up to 50 landowners on the shores of Lough Neagh are to work together on a project that aims to improve the habitat for protected birds.

Driven by Lough Neagh Partnership, the groups are encouraging farmers to manage land with birds in mind, including special cattle and controlled grazing.

It is hoped the scheme - which is planned up until 2022 - will increase the numbers of curlew, lapwing, snipe and redshank in internationally protected area. It is thought that farmers who get on board with the conservation plan, which aims to boost numbers of wintering birds, could be in line for up to £1,000 per hectare each year - depending on the type of land.

And it is hoped this money will come from the EU.

Gerry Darby from Lough Neagh Partnership, which drew up the plan, told the BBC that focusing investment on protected areas where there were existing concentrations of birds would help preserve and enhance those numbers.