Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about countryside access:
Q1. What is a public right of way?
A1. A public right of way is a public right of passage over private land. District Councils are responsible for the assertion and protection of public rights of way under the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983. Further information is available on the Countryside Access page.
Q2. I have a query about the Newry/Portadown Canal Towpath. Who should I contact?
A2. If you have a query about permission to use the towpath for an event or a complaint about its management then you should contact the Tourist Officer located within the Council's Development Department on 028 4066 0609.
Q3. Who do I contact for information on the future of the Ulster Way?
A3. Information about the future of the Ulster Way is available by visiting the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website. The Newry Canal Way is part of the Ulster Way. For maps and information visit the Countryside Access and Activities Network or Waymarked Ways websites.
Q4. How do I get information on the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?
A4. For information on the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty follow the link to the Mourne Heritage Trust’s website or visit the ‘Protected Landscapes’ section of Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website.
Q5. How do I get information on Countryside Recreation in NI?
A5. The Northern Ireland Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) is an umbrella organisation which brings together all groups and bodies which have an interest or involvement in countryside recreation in Northern Ireland. Its website provides information and advice on countryside recreation in NI. You can contact CAAN on 028 9030 3930 or visit the website link above for address details.
Q6. Who do I contact for information on the proposal to designate the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Beauty as a National Park?
A6. Visit the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website for information on the proposal to designate a Mourne National Park.
Q7. I have a query/complaint about parks and open spaces. Who should I contact in relation to this?
A7. Please contact our Technical Services Department on 028 4066 0604.
Q8. I would like help and advice on creating a school wildlife area. Who do I contact?
A8. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website provides grants to schools for wildlife areas. Visit the grants section of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website to download an application form along with a copy of their policy guidelines. Additionally, Conservation Volunteers (NI) can provide help and advice on creating your wildlife area. You can purchase a teacher's pack entitled 'British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (1995) Practical Conservation Pack: Advice for Teachers' by calling 01302 572244 or visiting the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers website.
Q9. Who should I contact regarding the preservation of trees from building development?
A9. You should contact the Planning Service, an Agency within the Department of the Environment as it is responsible for the making and enforcing of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). TPOs may be used to protect trees, groups of trees or woodlands, which add to the character and appearance of an area. A TPO provides protection for those trees specified in the order and makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy a tree, or permit these actions without first seeking the Department’s consent to do so. Visit the Planning Service's website for further information about TPOs or contact Roger Kinkead at Planning Service, Marlborough House, Craigavon on 028 3832 0455.
Q10. I have a complaint regarding illegal dumping. Who do I contact?
A10. Contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9054 6720 or visit the 'Waste Regulation and Legislation' section of its website.
Q11. I have a query about the protection of a site which I think may be of special nature conservation interest. Which organisation should I contact?
A11. The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland is responsible for nature conservation and planning. The Planning Service is responsible for the regulation of land use and development whilst the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is responsible for conservation of the natural environment, control of illegal dumping and pollution. The statutory designation of sites of nature conservation importance is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. See the ‘Designated Sites’ section of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's website. The site also provides information about which sites have been given legal protection. See question 9 on illegal dumping.
Q12. I have an enquiry regarding the protection of wildlife. Who should I contact?
A12. You can contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's Wildlife Officer on 028 9056 9557 or your local police covering the following areas: Banbridge T: 028 4066 2222, Gilford T: 028 3752 1114, Dromore T: 028 9269 2222 and Rathfriland T: 028 4063 0224. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds can assist with enquiries relating to the protection of birds (T: 028 9049 1547).
Q13. How can I submit or ask a question about countryside access/recreation?
A13. You can submit a question by selecting the 'Contact Us' link in the left hand navigation listing. Alternatively, you can contact the Council's Countryside Officer directly on 028 4066 0617.