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Case Studies

All too often, we ignore the lessons to be learned on our own doorstep. We hear of the great sustainability work taking place in Copenhagen or Curitiba and suppose that we can’t replicate those projects in our own places.

The case studies on these pages are firmly rooted at home. Most are the work of councils, although we have also illustrated good practice from other organisations in Northern Ireland.

We encourage you to read these introductory articles and get in touch with the listed contacts if you want more detailed information. Use them as inspiration, copy them, reinterpret them or just admire them. They show that good practice can sometimes be a nimble traveller after all.


North West Greenway Network

The North West Region - comprised of Derry City and Strabane District and North and East Donegal - is home to a rich natural, cultural and built heritage landscape, and some of the island’s highest quality, natural scenery. Situated on the Northern Ireland - Republic of Ireland jurisdictional border, the area is heavily reliant on cross-border movement of both people and goods, with about 325,000 cross-border vehicle journeys made per week (Department for Infrastructure telemetric data 2016).

Sunflower Fest promotes 'Refill Not Landfill' message

With over 500 summer music festivals gathering in the UK alone they can have major adverse affects on the environment. One of the most worrying issues is the vast use of single-use plastic that heads straight to landfill. However, many festival's are now looking to take a more eco-friendly approach and play their part to reduce their impact on the environment.

NI Water's Source to Tap Project

A major €5.3M cross-border project, to improve water quality in rivers and lakes in the Erne and Derg catchment areas which provide water that serves parts of counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Longford has launched.

Cambridge University's Eco District

The University of Cambridge's desire to retain staff has led to the creation of a £1bn sustainable community equipped with some of the UK's largest and most innovative sustainability features.  Currently, 54% of the world’s population resides in urban locations, with the number set to rise to 70% within a decade. It’s a global megatrend city planners are aware of, but the rapid acceleration of this process makes it hard to plan for.

Sustainable Drainage at Clandeboye Primary School

Clandeboye Primary school in Bangor, has in a first for Northern Ireland, created a rainwater garden in its 4 acres of woodland to reduce and prevent the risk of flooding. The innovative flagship project by NI Water and the Department of Infrastructure, was a £70,000 investment in part of wider SuDs system costing £1.7 million.

Farmers unite to green up the Glens

Thousands of new native trees are taking root across a Northern Ireland landscape which, although famously scenic, is extremely lacking when it comes to trees and woodland. It’s all thanks to the Heart of the Glens landscape partnership scheme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Moving the North West towards Zero Waste

Grassroots lobby group, Zero Waste North West, has made a palpable and commendable difference in raising awareness and increasing action towards a circular economy through various zero waste campains in the North West region. The organisation held a conference in 2015 bringing international experts to the City Hotel to highlight zero waste as a key priority for the Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Belfast: Becoming a Sustainable Food City

Farm to fork mentality is catching on with the help of the Belfast Food Network. The project, set up by Sustainable NI in 2014, brings together different partners to help make healthy and sustainable food a defining feature of Belfast city. In this way, food is being used to to address some of today’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems including dietary health, food poverty and climate change.

Granville Ecopark: Turning waste into a resource

Granville Ecopark Ltd in Dungannon is making waves in the area of energy from waste, utilising locally collected food waste and garden waste as a resource to contribute 4.8 MW of renewable energy into the Northern Irish electricity grid.

Derry City and Strabane District Council trial low-emission car club

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a global car rental company has been working towards sustainable development since 2013, focusing on advancement of alternative fuels and clean technologies. In recent years, Enterprise has established car clubs as an alternative to traditional car ownership models and now Derry City and Strabane District Council is availing of their low-emission car leasing scheme for essential staff travel within the district.