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CEDaR unveils 10-year business plan to combat environmental and biodiversity crisis

The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) is a longstanding partnership between National Museums NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the recording community in Northern Ireland. Funding for the plan has been acquired through the Carrier Bag Levy.

Three people dressed in dark clothes in a grassy area with trees in the background and two of them are standing near signs that promote an environmental and biodiversity message - 'meadow in progress' and 'let it bee'.
Natural Science
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It has never been more important to understand and address the health of our natural environment and its component parts. The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR), the body which helps to gather and record information about local wildlife in Northern Ireland and its coastal waters, has announced details of its ambitious 10-year business plan to enable addressing the challenging environmental and biodiversity crisis. 

Established in 1995, CEDaR is a longstanding partnership between National Museums NI, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the recording community in Northern Ireland. It has consistently played a pivotal role in collecting, collating, managing, and disseminating vital wildlife data, essential for informing environmental and biodiversity policy and strategy development.

As Northern Ireland’s only Local Environmental Records Centre, the business plan will greatly enhance CEDaR’s ability to provide environmental data, which are essential to deliver environmental obligations. This includes the recruitment initially of four additional staff members, broadening its scope and allowing CEDaR to play a more active role within National Museums NI, such as on-site activities related to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, managing invasive non-native species, educational outreach activities and training programmes.

Funding for CEDaR’s strategic plan has been derived from the Carrier Bag Levy. The revenue collected by the levy has been used to support environmental projects in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the announcement, Damian McFerran, Record Centre Manager at CEDaR said: 

“We are delighted to welcome this 10-year business plan as it gives us the opportunity to enhance our capacity and reach with the recruitment of new members of staff. This will further enable us to work with the public and colleagues in the local recording community, and undertake a number of important statutory projects. This infusion of talent will enable CEDaR to take a more active role in local Citizen Science initiatives and further engage with Northern Ireland's well-established recording community.” 

CEDaR is actively encouraging public participation in biodiversity conservation efforts, empowering ‘citizen scientists’ to get involved in monitoring and recording local wildlife species in their gardens and public spaces, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility for the protection of our natural world.

Chief Executive of NIEA, Paul Donnelly said: 

“DAERA and NIEA are pleased to be part of the continuing development and enhancement of CEDaR. This new ten year chapter for CEDaR and the funding it will receive from the Carrier Bag Levy will enable growth in environmental recording, citizen science, improved data flow, environmental learning and engagement opportunities.” 

By harnessing the power of data, citizen science, and collaboration, CEDaR aims to be at the forefront of efforts to protect and restore our natural environment. Commenting on the importance of established partnerships such as this, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, Kathryn Thomson, said: 

“National Museums NI is committed to effecting positive change in the face of the current environmental and biodiversity crisis. CEDaR's 10-year plan is a bold step towards a more sustainable and biodiverse future for Northern Ireland. Collaborative working with partner organisations like DAERA and NIEA, exemplifies the strength of cooperation in tackling environmental challenges. It demonstrates our commitment to address the escalating environmental and biodiversity crisis head-on, acknowledging the urgency of the situation and the need for decisive action.”