The DOE NI has decided not to renew the NHRP contract with Queen’s.  All work related to this will terminate on 22nd June. 

We are challenging this decision on the following grounds:

(a) NHRP resulted from a European wide competition administered by UK Government Procurement.  Non-renewal can be on the basis of under-performance, which is recognised as not relevant, and availability of funds.  We contest that since DOE NIEA are advertising new grants for NGOs, money is available and, hence, non-renewal on these grounds is neither rational nor reasonable.

(b) Research conducted by NHRP is largely statutory on species and habitats covered by EU Directives.  Research on restoration of biogenic reefs of Strangford Lough will cease on 22nd June leaving UK Government open to infraction (fines for non-compliance) of £6.6 million with daily fines continuing indefinitely thereafter.  These costs will be passed on to NI Government. DOE’s decision regarding NHRP makes no financial sense.

(c) Undermining the NI environmental research base will quickly lead to additional non-compliance with Birds and Habitats Directives.  NHRP provides jobs and training, access to advanced technologies and current scientific literature, modern data handling and statistical analyses, and local knowledge combined with international quality science relating to conservation biology, biodiversity and ecology.  This will not be replaced quickly, easily or cheaply.

If you are concerned about the deteriorating terrestrial, freshwater and marine environment of Northern Ireland and recognise the importance of research-led policy and management, please make your views known to the Minister of the Environment, Mr Mark Durkan. Email: or  or  write to: Room 321 Parliament Buildings Ballymiscaw Stormont Belfast BT4 3XX


For more details see our  press release


Listen to Prof. Ian Montgomery's statmennt on Good Morning Ulster (14th May 2015) below: