Vulnerable species now under protection in Carrick

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Billy Ashe, Helen Thompson (left), Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Alison Diver, Growing Communities officer MEA, with Zara, Megan, Sophie, Ben and Ben at the official opening of the Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve. INCT 30-010-PSB
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Billy Ashe, Helen Thompson (left), Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Alison Diver, Growing Communities officer MEA, with Zara, Megan, Sophie, Ben and Ben at the official opening of the Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve. INCT 30-010-PSB

Wildfowl and vulnerable species now enjoy protected status at Carrick’s newly opened Mill Ponds nature reserve.

At the official unveiling, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Council, Councillor Billy Ashe, was joined by young eco warriors who took part in environmental activities including pond dipping and ‘mini beast’ hunting.

“Carrickfergus Mill Ponds is three hectares of land which is an urban oasis for wildlife,” the first citizen told guests.

“Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve is for both people and wildlife. This site demonstrates Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s commitment to conserving and enhancing biodiversity throughout the district and our commitment to protecting urban green space for the community.”

Currently managed as a wildfowl refuge with greylag goose and mallards, the ponds contain a number of invertebrate species including the notable lake orb mussel, which is rare and ‘red-listed’ as vulnerable.

Now classed as a Local Nature Reserve, this means it is a protected area of land designated by the local authority to conserve its environmental and recreational value

Mr Ashe also took the opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the development of Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Local Nature Reserve, namely, MEA Council staff, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Biodiversity Unit and the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC).