Almost €15m is being awarded to the North West Greenways Network, it has been confirmed.

Funding of €14.86m is being allocated for the project to create 46.5km of new greenways through three distinct routes connecting Donegal to Derry and Strabane.

The funding was awarded through the Special EU Programmes Body.

Welcoming today's announcement Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey said: “This is wonderful news for the North West Region. We have been working closely with our partners in Derry City and Strabane District Council, Transport NI and Sustrans to develop this funding proposal that will see the development of an extensive greenways route in this part of Donegal connecting across the border into Derry and Strabane.”

The new Greenway routes will connect Buncrana to Derry-Londonderry via Pennyburn (32.5km); Muff Village to Derry via Culmore (10.5km); and Lifford to Strabane via Lifford Bridge (3.5km).

Greenways are corridors of land that are recognised for their ability to connect people and places together. They enhance existing outdoor recreational opportunities and can be used equally by cyclists, walkers and joggers. The North West Greenways Network is one of three new crossborder greenway projects being funded under the EU’s Interreg VA programme.

The objective of the programme in supporting these projects is to increase the number of cross-border journeys made by cycling or walking by up to 10% across the region by 2023.

Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council believes that the potential benefits of the new North West Greenways Network will be far reaching in that the route will impact on people’s health and wellbeing, it will help stimulate local economic activity by attracting visitors to the local areas, it will help reduce carbon emissions as it will provide commuters with an opportunity to leave their cars at home and cycle or walk to work and most importantly it will enhance the quality of life for the local community by enhancing the existing leisure and recreational opportunities in their areas.

Donegal’s Local Economic and Community Plan 2012 – 2016 identified the need for recreational infrastructure such as greenways as a critical resource for the county and the new North West Greenways Network will go a long way in meeting the need for this type of infrastructure in this part of Donegal.

In thanking the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) for their support and assistance throughout the application process Seamus Neely said that the Council will continue to work closely with the SEUPB and the Lead Partner, Derry City and Strabane District Council along with the other project partners in delivering this exciting project over the next five years.

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