Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...

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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Scoping Report: Review of available data
for assessing the environmental impact of
     tourism on the environment of the
     Causeway Coast and Glens Area

              March 2020
Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Abbreviations / Acronyms

AADT     Annual Average Daily Traffic
AONB     Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
ASSI     Area of Special Scientific Interest
CCGHT    Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust
CCGBC    Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
CCR      Causeway Coastal Route
CCG      Causeway Coast and Glens
DAERA    Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
DfE      Department for the Economy
DfI      Department for Infrastructure
EU       European Union
GSNI     Geological Survey of Northern Ireland
KNIB     Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful
MEABC    Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
NIEA     Northern Ireland Environment Agency
SAC      Special Area of Conservation
SPA      Special Protection Area
UNESCO   United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNWTO    United Nations World Tourism Organisation
WAW      Wild Atlantic Way
WFD      Water Framework Directive
WHS      World Heritage Site
Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
    Tourism is a significant economic driver for Northern Ireland. It accounts for 4.9% of the
    economy and sustains 40,000 jobs 1. The natural environment is an invaluable tourism asset.
    This is especially true in the Causeway Coast and Glens area where the outstanding
    landscapes, and natural formations such as the Giant’s Causeway, are iconic visitor
    attractions. A sustainable approach to tourism is essential to safeguard the area’s natural
    beauty and status as a tourist destination.

    In order to identify necessary actions to safeguard the environment from the potential impacts
    of tourism, it is first necessary to gain a good understanding of the environment and the
    pressures it experiences. This report aims to provide information on the environment of the
    CCG area, scope what data is available to inform about the state of the environment and
    identify what gaps in information exist. A tourism focus will be taken. Recommendations for
    future actions will be presented.

    Sustainability and sustainable development are not simply optional approaches under section
    25 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006, Government Departments and
    Councils have a statutory duty to promote the achievement of sustainable development in the
    exercise of their functions. 2 The Northern Ireland Executives Everyone’s Involved Sustainable
    Development Strategy and Draft Programme For Government show a commitment for
    Departments to think, operate and encourage
    sustainability. All nations are working to contribute
    to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Most
    relevant to this research and sustainable tourism
    are goals 8, 11, 12, 13 and 15.

    There has been a significant cultural change in attitudes towards the environment. High
    proportions of tourists are considering the environmental and human impact when travelling 3.

    TNI and others with a role in growing Nis tourism industry should be actively considering the
    environmental impact of tourism development.

1   Invest NI (2020)
2   DAERA Sustainable Development
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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

Research Purpose
Tourism Northern Ireland (TNI) instigated this research to be conducted by Causeway Coast
and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT). The purpose of this study is to identify the key
environmental factors that should be focused on in relation to understanding the potential
impact of tourism on the local environment. This study will also identify if the necessary data
exists, is accessible and in a useable format, and will provide a brief analysis on what the
available data indicates.

This research aims to:
•   identify what data is available relating to environmental impacts. This may include visitor
    numbers, public transport figures, waste and litter data.
•   consider whether the existing data is comparable and usable
•   if possible, analyse existing data and taking into account visitor trends/seasonality
•   identify gaps in information.
This report seeks to identify what key environmental factors should be focused on in relation to
understanding the environment and tourisms potential impact on it, identify if data related to
the factor exists, is accessible and in a useable format, and provide a brief analysis and
comment on what the available data indicates.

Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust
The Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) was established in May 2002 as a
partnership body with the responsibility of promoting and enhancing the unique qualities of the
Causeway Coast and Glens area. Within the Trust’s boundary, which encompasses an area of
more than 3400 km², there exists a wide variety of scenic landscapes, important wildlife
resources and a rich cultural heritage. CCGHT promote environmental management which will
protect the unique heritage of the Causeway Coast and Glens area. It aims to promote a
sustainable tourism/development industry for the benefit of visitors and the people who live
and work here.

A core function of CCGHT is the management, through secretariat services, of three Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty: Antrim Coast and Glens, Binevenagh and the Causeway Coast.
CCGHT provides the same function for the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World
Heritage Site Steering Group.

Geographic Area
This study will focus on the Causeway Coast and Glens (CCG) area, with the Causeway
Coastal Route (CCR) as a central focus. This includes the two council areas of Causeway
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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
    Coast and Glens Borough Council (CCGBC) and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
    (MEABC). CCGBC covers 1,968 km2 and has 155 km of coastline, including Rathlin Island; it
    is home to over 144,000 people (2018). MEABC covers approximately 1,046 km2 and is home
    to over 135,000 people (2018).
    The CCR is a popular tourist driving route that stretches over 120 miles from North Belfast to
    the east of Derry-Londonderry (see Fig 1) along the A2 Coast Road. The route encompasses
    many popular visitor attractions, including the Gobbins Cliff Path, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
    and the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS), which
    is the most visited
    attraction in Northern
    Ireland. The route
    extends into Antrim and
    Borough Council and
    Derry and Strabane
    District Council, but this
    report will concentrate
    on the dominant council
    areas of CCGBC and MEABC.

    Tourism in Northern Ireland
    Tourism is a valuable part of the NI economy. It is worth 4.9% of GDP and sustains over
    40,000 jobs. 4 Tourism figures show a marked increase between 2013 and 2018 rising from
    4.1m trips and £723m spending in 2013 to 5m trips and £969m spending in 2018 5. The
    tourism industry has grown steadily over the past decade into a £1billion industry and there
    are ambitions to double tourism revenue to two billion by 2030 and create 25,000 new jobs 6.

4 Invest NI (2020)
5 NISRA Annual Tourism Statistics 2013 - 2018
6 Embrace the Giant Spirit Literature

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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
    Tourism NI has outlined its aim to make Northern Ireland renowned as a world-class short
    break destination. Over the next 10 years,
    potential tourists from the priority markets of
    Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, Germany,
    France, USA, Australia and China will be

    The majority of trips made are by domestic
    visitors, with 44% of all overnight trips made by
    local residents, followed by 29% from Great
    Britain and 12% Republic of Ireland. Only 16% of
    visitors travel from outside of the UK and Ireland

         Tourism NI
         Tourism Northern Ireland (TNI) is responsible for the development of tourism in Northern
         Ireland. TNI is a non-departmental public body of the Department for the Economy (DfE)
         which is also responsible for marketing Northern Ireland as a tourist destination to domestic
         tourists (from NI & ROI). TNI works alongside Tourism Ireland, the organisation responsible
         for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday destination, and may also partner
         with Fáilte Ireland whose role is to support the wider tourism industry in Ireland. TNI support
         CCGHT with financial resources and expertise.

7   Trips by place of origin 2018 (NISRA)
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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
Although not overtly obvious, possibly as it is so integral to Northern Ireland’s visitor offering,
TNI recognises the importance of the environment to the tourism industry. Embrace a Giant
Spirit is a new experience brand used by TNI and Tourism Ireland to promote Northern Ireland
on the island of Ireland and internationally. The brand logo demonstrates how important the

environment is.

Throughout TNI literature and strategies, the natural environment, landscape, scenic views
and similar terms are referenced time and again. Customer groups such as Mature
Cosmopolitans are noted as being interested in natural beauty and scenic drives while Great
Escapers are seeking breath-taking landscapes and remote locations. A 2017 document, A
Prospectus for Change: A Strategic Framework to unlock the potential of heritage-led tourism
in Northern Ireland demonstrates well how the natural environment may not be noted as the
key asset but is the wonderful backdrops that draw visitors in volume and provides inspiration
for storytelling, animating the landscape.

Causeway Coast and Glens Area and tourism
This report considers the CCG area to cover two Council areas; Causeway Coast and Glens
and Mid and East Antrim Borough Councils. Specific focus will be given to the Causeway
Coastal Route (CCR) as this is the premier marketed tourist route. Most tourist attractions fall
on or close to the CCR. The CCG area and CCR have a significant role to play in meeting the
ambitious targets of the tourism industry.

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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
Visitors mostly travel by car or by coach to and in the CCG area. Day-tripper coach tourism,
stopping at key attractions such as Dark Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede and
Bushmills Distillery, is well established. Both Councils undertake tourism marketing and
development roles. CCGBC operates under Visit Causeway Coast and Glens and has a
destination management plan while MEABC launched Shaped by Sea and Stone in early

 Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
 Tourism is a key economic activity and a major prosperity driver for the area. Visitors
 contribute to the social and cultural life of the Borough and bring money into the local
 economy, £50.7 million (2018). The number of trips to MEABC in 2018 was 296,441.
 Tourism generated 966,000 overnight stays in 2018 and accounts for 4,395 related jobs, or
 over 10% of local employment illustrating the importance of tourism as a key economic activity
 and a major prosperity driver for the area.
 Key challenges include market recognition, seasonality and lack of accommodation along the

 Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
 Tourism contributed £172.3 million to the local economy in 2018. The number of trips to the
 Causeway Coast and Glens Borough in 2018 was 1,011,485.
 Tourism is worth £110m per annum by overnight expenditure (excluding day visits) to the
 Council area and accounts for 4,751 related jobs, or over 12% of local employment. This
 illustrates the importance of tourism as a key economic activity and a major prosperity driver
 for CCGBC.
 Key challenges include a high dependence on the domestic market and the fact that half the
 visits and value from tourism are experienced in the four summer months, creating issues of
 seasonality and capacity.

Key attractions of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
    The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site (WHS) has been the premier
    visitor attraction in Northern Ireland for decades. In 2012 a new visitor center was opened and
    visitors have increased year on year from 788,000 in 2014 to 1,039,000 in 2018 8.
    Also, in the top ten NI visitor attractions is Carrick-a-rede, located a short distance from the
    Giant’s Causeway.

     Attraction                      2013         2014        2015        2016        2017        2018
     Giant's Causeway
     World Heritage Site
     (1000s)                          754          788         851         944       1,012        1,039
     Carrick-a-Rede Rope
     Bridge (1000s)                   263          324         354         440         434          492

    Other notable attractions include Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle, The Gobbins Cliff Path,
    Carrickfergus Castle and the Antrim Coast road. The villages and towns which span the CCR
    are also popular stops, as are beaches (some of which hold Blue Flags), forest and country
    parks and the Dark Hedges.

    In 2017 Lonely Planet ranked the CCR (as well as the Wild Atlantic Way) in the Top 50 world’s
    ultimate road trips. The following year it declared Belfast and the CCR as the Number One
    region to visit in 2018.

    Significant events
    The Giro D’Italia in 2014 and The Royal Open in 2019 showcased the CCR to the world, with
    an estimated global TV audience of 56 million and 600 million respectively. These events
    increased visitor numbers to the area during the event.

    Game of Thrones has greatly increased interest and visits to the CCG area as it is home to
    numerous filming locations for the show. TNI estimates 350,000 people visit NI annually
    because of the Game of Thrones connection, and this equates to a spend of approximately
    £50m per year.

    Tourism and the environment

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Scoping Report: Review of available data for assessing the environmental impact of tourism on the environment of the Causeway Coast and Glens Area ...
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
    The natural environment and outstanding landscapes are the underpinning asset of the CCG
    area, upon which a healthy and growing tourism market and many visitor attractions are
    based. 21% of visitors to NI cite ‘To see beautiful scenery/landscapes’ as their most important
    reasons for visiting. However, it is unclear how and to what extent tourism activities are
    impacting on the natural environment and to what capacity the environment has to deal with
    the growing tourism industry.

    The tourism industry, like all industries, needs to strive to operate more sustainably. The
    United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (WTO) states that, in order to be sustainable,
    tourism must ‘take full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental
    impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host
    communities’ 9.
    The term sustainable tourism can sometimes be understood as a way of protecting the
    environment or as a business tool. However, it is a balance of these coupled with supporting
    local residents. With targets set to increase tourism further over the next 10 years, it is
    essential that current and future environmental impacts are assessed to ensure future growth
    is sustainable. The preservation of the CCR’s natural beauty and resources is paramount, to
    ensure that the area remains a desirable destination for tourists.

    Environmental Designations
    The CCG area is home to many special habitats and species. There is an expansive catalogue
    of protected areas within CCG which are designated at the local government, EU and
    international levels. These designations help to protect sensitive habitats, species, landscapes
    and special features. The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA),
    specifically the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), has responsibility for the

9United Nations World Tourism Organisation
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
favourable management and monitoring of protected areas (natural heritage and earth

   •     Nationally recognised Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of Binevenagh,
         Causeway Coast, Antrim Coast and Glens and Sperrins are testament to the value of
         the outstanding landscapes within the CCG area.
   •     Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) are protected areas that represent the best
         of wildlife and geological sites that make a considerable contribution to the
         conservation of valuable natural places.
   •     Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), are EU level
         designations designed to protect biodiversity and ecosystems of international value
         and there are several such designations across the CCG area. For example, Rathlin
         Island and the Garron Plateau are host to both SAC and SPA designations, while the
         beaches of Benone, Downhill and Magilligan are SAC designated.
   •     RAMSAR sites are internationally recognised. They protect wetlands of key
         international importance. Within the CCG area, there are RAMSAR sites at Lough
         Foyle mudflats, Garry Bog near Ballymoney and at the Garron Plateau.
   •     Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast UNESCO WHS was designated in 1986
         because of its significant geological formations. As an iconic international image of
         Northern Ireland, it has a central role in promoting the CCG area to visitors.

       The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area contains the
       following designated areas: 4 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs),
       14 Special Area of Conversations (SACs), 3 Special Protection Areas
       (SPAs), 3 Ramsars, 1 World Heritage Site, 12 National Nature Reserves
       (NNRs), and 63 Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs).

       The Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area contains the following
       designated areas: 1 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), 4 Special
       Area of Conversations (SACs), 5 Special Protection Areas (SPAs), 4
       Ramsars, 10 Nature Reserves (NRs), and 40 Area of Special Scientific
       Interest (ASSIs)

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

Built heritage designations
The built environment is also an important feature of CCG with the villages of Glenarm,
Cushendall and Bushmills among others designated as Conservation Areas for their unique
townscape character. Other buildings and features are listed on the Historic Sites and
Monuments Record including Kinbane Castle and Dunluce Castle. The shipwrecks of HMS
Drake and the Girona Historic Wreck further add to the dramatic northern coastline. Important
archaeological sites including Area of Significant Archaeological Interest designated at Knock
Dhu, Cairncastle; the ruins of Bonamargy Friary at Ballycastle (scheduled monument) and
Mountsandel Mesolithic Site & Fort at Coleraine (scheduled monument).

Access to protected areas
The extent of the various designations extends across both public and private land and waters.
As a result, many designated areas are accessible by the public and visitors. Indeed, some
have become visitor attractions, while popular walking routes, such as the Causeway Coast
Way, often traverse multiple designations and protected areas.

Thus, it is important that steps are taken to mitigate the potential impacts of such access on
these sensitive environments. Continued pressure from increases in visitors, changes to
climate, and land and site management practices continue to present threats to our protected
areas. Therefore ongoing monitoring and management is necessary to safeguard CCG’s
natural and built heritage assets.

Approach taken in this report

The report uses qualitative and quantitative data, obtained through research of academic
articles, government issued reports, websites and sourcing unpublished data from public and
private organisations.

A scoping review of other areas facing, addressing and operating environmental monitoring
was carried-out and key learnings outlined. A guiding example was the Wild Atlantic Way, a
2,500km tourist route along the south and west coast of Ireland. An environmental survey and
monitoring was incorporated from the conception of this tourism initiative. This example stood

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
     out as the general context is similar, a branded and marketed (predominately) driving route
     running along the coast through rural areas, with honeypot attractions and a variety of
     sensitive natural and built environments.

     The CCG area has been considered as having two macro-monitoring areas: the Council areas
     MEABC and CCGBC. Data is often collected on a Council by Council basis and both areas
     have separate operating, community and business plans. These differences mean data is not
     always straight forward to aggregate.
     Data was most readily available from 2014 – 2019, linking with the reorganisation of local
     government councils in NI. Delays and issues were encountered in sourcing and gathering
     data. This was an expected obstacle and demonstrates that this sort of monitoring and data
     sharing is not commonplace between NI stakeholders, agencies and departments.

     Identification of key factors
     Various regions and countries have undertaken research and monitoring of environmental
     factors related to tourism. These differ in the number and range of factors covered, the length
     of monitoring time and scale of study area. The WAW Environmental Survey and Monitoring
     Programme was the best example found. The location, premise of the WAW and nature of the
     Programme support this as a suitable model to follow for the CCG area.
     CCGHT and TNI helped informed discussion and focus of key factors.

     Wild Atlantic Way- Environmental Surveying and Monitoring Programme
     As part of the WAW Operational Programme, Fáilte Ireland prepared an Environmental
     Surveying and Monitoring Strategy in 2015, running until 2019. It wanted to demonstrate a
     commitment to sustainable development and establish a good grasp of potential negative
     environmental impacts, to be better placed to avoid them      10

     CAAS delivered the technical aspects of the Programme. The format was partly based on
     survey work done previously at the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.
     The Programme aimed to investigate the actual effects of a range of representative tourism
     activities at a range of sites and undertook three levels of monitoring: Macro monitoring, site
     survey for visitor behaviour and site survey for specific environmental reasons. The findings
     can be used to inform decisions regarding the maintenance, protection and mitigation of likely
     effects at these sites using an evidence-based approach to support resolutions.

10   Fáilte Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way.
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
      Macro Indicators
      Water Quality              State of Knowledge of Irelands    Visitor Numbers
                                 Biodiversity                             - Visitor Numbers at Monitoring
      Blue Flag Beaches
      National Roads Authority   EPA Ireland's Environment - An    Green Coast Award
      Traffic Counter            Assessment (2012)                 - Green Coasts at Monitoring Points
      Tourism Related            The status of EU Protected        - Green Coasts at Control Points
      Planning Refusal           Habitats and Species in Ireland

     Monitoring was intended to confirm the existing conditions of sites with a view to:
        •   contribute to Visitor Management Strategies;
        •   contribute to future editions of Fáilte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Guidelines;
        •   identify medial action/works required;
        •   assess the capacity for future loadings;
        •   integrate site management with future European Site Management Plans

     Secondary case studies
     Canary Islands: A 2016 study, by a cooperative of universities, identified social, economic and
     environmental factors upon which to measure and assess sustainability of tourism in the
     Canary Island region 11. Environmental factors used were land use, biodiversity, environmental
     quality and water resources. Data identified to inform these factors included; roads density,
     protected area proportion, share of renewable energy, energy consumption, per capita waste,
     per capita recycling, water consumption, total water demand and waste water treatment levels.
     The study included some capacity threshold modelling which is of interest to this topic

     Mediterranean Region: Sunlu et al12 recognizes that The quality of the environment, both
     natural and man-made, is essential to tourism and outlines three themes for investigating
     environmental impacts of tourism: depletion of natural resources, pollution and physical
     impacts. Subgroups exist under these themes. This study provides an interesting way to group
     potential data but doesn’t include reference to visitor satisfaction or local resident satisfaction.

11 Banos-Gonzales, I et al 2016 ‘Tools for sustainability assessment in island socio-ecological systems: an
application to the Canary Islands’ Island Studies Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2016, pp. 9-34
12 Sunlu U. Environmental impacts of tourism (2003) Camarda D. (ed.), Grassini L. (ed.). Local

resources and global trades: Environments and agriculture in the Mediterranean region. Bari : CIHEAM,
2003. p. 263-270 (Options Méditerranéennes : Série A. Séminaires Méditerranéens; n. 57)
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
It supports the idea that many factors are important at both macro-level (e.g. air) and site
specific level (e.g. trampling and erosion). The full report can only be accessed with a journal
subscription so further details about the data types are not available.
Table 1 Table of factors considered in Sunlu et al study

 Natural Resource Depletion         Pollution                    Physical Impacts
 Water resources                    Air                          Construction &
                                                                 infrastructure development
 Local resources (food, energy)     Water & Sewage               Anchoring
 Land degradation                   Noise                        Trampling and erosion
                                    Solid waste & litter

Key Factors for the CCG area
Consideration was given to the various approaches and factors presented in reports and
programmes. Following review and discussion with TNI and CCGHT the following
environmental factors have been identified as important for the CCG area.

 Environmental Quality            Resources usage                    Site Specific Review
 Air quality                      Road usage/traffic                 Beyond the scope of this
 Water quality                    Visitor numbers
    - Blue Flag Awards
 KNIB litter data                 Waste
 Status/condition of              Council expenditure on clean-
 designated sites                 up activities

Sourcing information
To source data related to the key factors a number of actions were taken and some difficulties
-   Online research to determine what organization, agency or department might hold the
    relevant data. This proved fairly informative and identified gaps in information availability.
-   Communication with relevant contacts, and general contact points was made to find out
    more about data existence and availability. This was a lengthy and often unfruitful
    process. Multiple requests and clarifications were required and often contacts could not
    share the information directly/immediately. Some communication was possible including
    phone calls and meetings but on the whole data collection was difficult. *
-   Publicly available data is often of a lower granular quality making it more difficult to glean
    insights from.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
-   This process indicated that information sharing for research purposes is not common
    practice for Departments, agencies, organisations and others.
-   It proved difficult to source data for Council areas pre 2014.

Note: the Covid-19 pandemic was ongoing during March/April 2020. Communication from
Departments, agencies and organisations became increasingly difficult as a result.

*See appendix for Summary of contacts.

Key Data Sources
NI Government Departments have responsibility to monitor and record a variety of data.
NISRA, an Agency of the Department of Finance, is the principal source of official statistics
and social research in Northern Ireland. NISRA is a reliable source of data and should be a
willing partner in TNI research.

DAERA produce a Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report annually. Records online
show this has been produced since at least 2009, providing over a decade worth of reliable
data coupled with some interpretation and comment. This is a key document in understanding
what factors are measured in NI and identifying long term trends https://www.daera-

Councils are responsible for Community Planning. Part of this process is gathering baseline
data related to the aims of the Community Plan. Often these documents are presenting data
held by DAERA or other Departments. The reports do not present much, if any new
information or data, however, undertake the role of macro level reporting. The reports do not
follow the same format so comparison is not easy. Reports are not produced annually and so
do not support regular monitoring or input of information to a possible environmental
Programme. CCGBC report. MEABC Report.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

Assessment of Key Factors
Visitor numbers
The number of visitors to an area over time is important to track     Year     Number of
and understand, as a key tourism marker. Tracking visitor                      Overnight Trips (NI)
numbers across the year and in particular areas is important to       2013     4.1m
gain a sense of the economic importance of tourism in different       2014     4.5m
locales. For example, an increase in visitor footfall and             2015     4.5
overnight stays has been proven to have a positive economic           2016     4.6m
impact. It is also vital to track visitor numbers as a means of       2017     4.9m
identifying visitor hotspots, areas where the pressures exerted       2018     5m
from visitors are likely to be more intense and require increased
mitigation or management.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

                                                     Visitor numbers 13 to NI have increased steadily
                                                     from 4.1m overnight trips in 2013 to 5m in
                                                     2018. MEABC experienced a decrease over
                                                     this period, falling from 322,198 in 2014 to
                                                     296,441 in 2018. CGBC visitor numbers
                                                     increased over this time, from 756,966 in 2014
                                                     to 1,011,485 in 2018. The CCG area revived
                                                     1,307,926 overnight trips in 2018. The rate of
                                                     increase was 33% which surpassed that of the
                                                     general NI 22% rate of increase. Visitor
                                                     number data is readily available from TNI and

Visitor travel

How visitors arrive at their destination (their means of travel)
should also be taken into account. While this may not have a
direct impact on the local environment of the CCG area, this will
still account for part of the environmental cost of the area’s
tourism activity.

TNIs 2018 Visitor Attitude Survey - NI Fact Card sets out that
68% of visitors are from out of state (OOS). 73% of these visitors
arrived by air with the remaining 27% travelling to the Island of
Ireland by ferry.

86% of CCGBC visitors were OOS in 2018, 90% in MEABC. In
both Council areas To see beautiful scenery/landscapes was a
top reason to visit.

Means of travel within CCG area is of particular relevance for
analysing the local environmental impact of tourism activities. 2
out of 3 OOS visitors have been shown to have access to their
own car. As a result, visitor travel within CCG area can be
reasonably argued to directly contribute to the area’s
greenhouse gas emissions. 14

Visits to attractions and sites

Visits to specific sites and attractions can provide some more insight. Popular or hotspot areas
can be identified for further site-specific review. Further management or mitigation measures

13NISRA Tourism Statistics 2013-2018
14From 2001 to 2017, car was the most popular means of transport by NI residents, accounting for 70%
of all journeys in period 2015-2017. Transport was also the second largest contributor to NI Greenhouse
Gas emissions in 2016, accounting for 22% of all emissions. NI Environmental Statistics, p.11 & p.32.
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
may be required at sites and attractions which experience mass footfall. Ongoing monitoring is
vital to assess visitor pressure on sites.

The nature of sites and attractions visited also provides insight on the importance of the
environment to the visitor - almost all of the most popular visitor attractions in Northern Ireland
include scenic landscapes.

Again, data related to visitor figures for key sites is available from TNI and NISRA. Data for
smaller sites (which can include sensitive environments) is not readily available and, in many
cases, does not exist.

 Top visitor attractions - CCGBC               Top visitor attractions - MEABC
 Giant’s Causeway                              The Gobbins
 Dark Hedges                                   Carrickfergus Castle
 Carrick-a-rede                                Glenarm Estate
 Dunluce Castle                                Slemish Mountain
 Bushmills Distillery                          Carrickfergus Museum
 Ballintoy Harbour
 Portstewart Strand                            15


NIs tourism industry has developed into a healthy year-round industry. Seasonality may
influence visitor behaviour and activities, which in turn impacts the environment.

A higher proportion of visits to CCG area’s key tourist           Quarter         Months               % of annual
hotspots take place between July and September,                                                        trips to NI
meaning increased density of footfall in key areas. The           Q1              Jan – March          20%
potential for seasonality to exaggerate negative                  Q2              April – June         25%
environmental impacts from local tourism activity should
                                                                  Q3              July – Sept          30%
be considered. Ongoing monitoring and data analysis is
required at key sites for this factor to be fully explored.       Q4              Oct - Dec            25% 16
                                                                  Table 2 Tourism Performance analysis for 2018

Summary Table: Visitor Numbers

 Data available          Visitor numbers. Attractions/site specific.
                         A range of sub-sets available.

15   TNI 2018 Visitor Attitude Survey – Local Government District Fact Cards
16   NISRA Tourism Performance Jan – Dec 2018 – At A Glance
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
                         Figures available for at least 5 years – understand data available for a
                         longer period.
 Source                  Tourism NI, NISRA, NI Environmental Statistics
 Quality of data         Data is of high quality.
 Usefulness              Informs the big picture of tourism industry in NI.
                         What is currently available allows for benchmarking.
                         Future tracking and monitoring is recommended.
 Notes                   More site-specific information would enhance picture and site specific
                         aspect of recording and monitoring. Site selection required.

Health of the Environment
  Many places throughout Northern Ireland
have been designated due to their special
natural and built heritage qualities.
DAERA is responsible for developing
management policy and monitoring many of
these designations. It is important to note
many other organisation have a role to play
in site management and contributing to
reporting. Councils, eNGOs such as RSPB,
Ulster Wildlife, and CCGHT among others
have a role to play. Private landowners must
adhere to permitted practices on their land
where a designation falls. AONB is not
included in this. The main safeguarding
measure for AONBs is the planning system.

ASSIs are designated for specific features
and condition of these features is assessed over a six
year monitoring programme, first completed in 2008.

17   NIEA Environmental Statistics Report 2019
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
SPAs, SACs and Ramsar sites are considered to be of higher sensitivity and importance (EU
can impose fines for SPA and SAC) and so more detailed management plans and monitoring is
undertaken. NIEA are in the process of developing new management plans for SACs and SPA
in the CCG area. There is an opportunity for TNI to engage with this.
NIEA are responsible for coordinating a wide range of data collection, delivered by a range of
partners. This is presented in the NI Environment Statistics Report which is a key source of
information. Although further breakdown and data set provision required for macro areas.

Built environment
The CCG area has a rich built heritage. Department for Communities, Historic
Environment Division has a responsibility for monitoring and supporting NIs built
heritage. The NI Sites and Monuments Record, Scheduled Monuments and Buildings at
Risk Register are the main methods of identifying, monitoring and safeguarding built
heritage. Due to issues with online sources (Map Viewer) and little data available not
much information was available.

 Data available     Some high level data available online for natural environment.
 Source             DAERA
 Quality of data    Data is of high quality.
 Usefulness          A better breakdown of Council area required for natural and built
 Notes              What is available indicates there is a wealth of data. It needs to be supplied
                    is a useful format with interpretation. DfC to provide information on what is
                    available and expert comment on whether tourism is seen as a threat.

Air Quality

DAERA have responsibility for monitoring and
reporting on air quality in NI. DAERA state that
the air quality in NI is better now than it has
ever been since the industrial revolution.
The Northern Ireland Air Quality Data Archive
contains options for the public to retrieve data
(measurements and simple statistics) relating
to Air Quality in Northern Ireland from 1986 to
the present day. Some measurements are
continual, hourly, daily, weekly depending of
the chemical and the equipment currently in

It is not possible to present and provide
comment on each of these in this report.
However, it confirms the longstanding and
detailed catalogue of air quality data available
for NI and, therefore, DAERA should be able to
assist with this research.

No one measure of air quality is enough to
gauge tourism’s impact. Statistics and some
                                                                                         PAGE 21
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
interpretation is available in the annual Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report.
Tourism is not an identified sector.
DAERA is developing a long-term Air Quality Strategy for Northern Ireland, which will include
reviewing all current air quality policy.

There are no active monitoring stations in the CCG area, as demonstrated in the map (18 in NI).
DAERA and Councils undertake air quality monitoring in the CCG area but this data was not
made available in time for this report. It is understood that all data is provided to DAERA and so
should be included in the main data source.

The 2017 Air Pollution Report (from DAERA) states that one of the main sources of harmful air
pollutants PM10, PM2.5 and Nitrous oxides is road transport. Half of the PM produced from
road transport is from fuel combustion, while the other half is from tyre and brake dust and road
wear. The NOx emitted by road transport is particularly harmful as it leads to increased
concentrations of this pollutant at ground level in busy streets.
Transport contributes 23% of Northern Ireland’s emissions (2017) 18, a small increase from 21%
in 2014 19. CCR is a popular driving route and 2 out of 3 OOS visitors has access to cars, while
the remainder use private coaches and public transport. Passenger data from the Rathlin Ferry
also shows increasing numbers of cars from 2,828 in 2014/15 to 3,192 in 2018/19.
Therefore, it is likely that tourism is contributing to air pollution through travel and transport.
Energy production and consumption is not considered in this section.

Summary Table: Air Quality

 Data available    Range of air pollution data sets.
                   Data captured for more than a decade.
                   Data collected at different time intervals dependent on chemical and
 Source            DAERA (Council undertake some air quality monitoring)
 Quality of data   Data is of high quality.
 Usefulness        The dataset is massive. It is not clear which factors are the most informative
                   to follow and review (CO2, PM).
                   Long standing nature of data collection allows for benchmarking and
 Notes             The data is from a reputable source and is extensive. However, expert input
                   is required to present data in a useable format and provide interpretation.
                   Information on what Councils capture and input was not made available
                   during the time of this report.

18 Northern Ireland greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2017
19 Local Development Plan 2020-2035 Building Environmental Resilience

                                                                                         PAGE 22
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

Water Quality

Household/Drinking water
Northern Ireland Water is a
Government Owned Company (GoCo),
set up in April 2007 to provide water
and sewage services in NI. It is
responsible for supply and treatment of water.
Northern Ireland Water have extensive records and many data sets. It is advised that TNI
contact Northern Ireland Water to seek advice and scientific interpretation for future monitoring
and research.

Drinking water in CCGBC and MEABC is of high quality, meeting +99% compliance rates.
It was not possible to source water usage rates in relation to peak tourism times for the CCG
area in the time span of this report.

River Water Quality
DfI Rivers maintain and inspect watercourses in Northern Ireland to make sure these are free
flowing. DAERA NIEA are responsible for implementing the Water Framework Directive; this is
the main driver for assessing water environments and maintaining their good ecological status.
Additionally, through NIEA, rivers are monitored (both chemically and biologically) to assess
their water quality and level of compliance with a range of national standards, EU Directives and
International agreements.

                                           Graph showing WFD Overall Classification of River Water Bodies
                                           2015-2018 (from NI WFD 2018 Statistics Report)
                                                                                        PAGE 23
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
In 2018, 31.3% of NI river water bodies were classified as 'good’ or better 20. This compares with
32.7% classified as ‘good’ or better in 2015. Much of the CCG area falls in the North Eastern
River Basin monitoring area. This monitoring area has the smallest number of ‘Good’ quality
River Water Bodies (see graph) and has experienced decreases in quality since 2015.

There is reliable and consistent data available about river quality, with each river in NI
categorized as High, Good, Moderate, Poor, Bad or no data. However, it is questionable how
much of an impact tourism has on rivers. Expert advice and confirmation of what data can be
provided to support future research and monitoring is required from NIEA.

Bathing Water Quality
Beaches are important to NI tourism, especially within the CCG area. In 2018, 51% of visitors to
CCGBC and 48% of MEABC visitors reported visiting a beach while in NI – this was significantly
higher than the overall NI percentage of 24%.

Beaches provide local communities and visitors with space for socio-economic development,
healthy outdoor recreation, activity and tourism opportunities. They also represent areas of
scientific interest, important for the protection and conservation of habitats, species and natural
processes of local, national and international importance. They are quite simply a natural
heritage resource of enormous tangible and intangible value for Northern Ireland 21. Beaches are
owned and operated by three main bodies in the CCG area; CCGBC, MEABC and National

DAERA monitor bathing water quality in NI and assess results against the EC Bathing Water
Directive 2006/7. During the bathing season, June to mid-September, water quality is assessed
on 20 different occasions. Samples are collected and analysed by DAERA Marine and Fisheries
Division. Bathing Water Quality information is updated weekly during bathing season and
displayed on posters which are circulated to all beach operators. Most authorities display the
posters at the bathing water site, council or visitor information centres. 22 Reports are readily
available on each bathing water region in NI from 2017 onwards.
Bathing waters in the CCG area are good and often rate well in DAERA monitoring.

20 DAERA NIEA 2018 Northern Ireland WFD Statistics Report
21 CCGHT Beach Management Strategy
22 DAERA Bathing Water Quality Webpage

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

                  Map of Bathing Waters along CCR Route (DAERA)

MEABC Bathing Waters: Three in report area.
  • Browns Bay displays the best water quality over a four-year period with the least
     confirmed cases of pollution, but has dropped from Excellent in 2015-16 to Good in
  • Ballygally is consistently Good but has quite a large number of confirmed pollution
  • Carnlough has fluctuated between Sufficient and Good over 4 years. Has the highest
     number of confirmed pollution incidents of the three sites.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

 Table showing beach awards, water quality history and number of confirmed pollution incidents for MEABC
bathing waters along CCR area

Table showing beach awards, water quality history and number of confirmed pollution
incidents for CCGBC bathing waters along the CCR area
                                                                                         PAGE 26
Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

CCGBC Bathing Water: Nine in report area.
  • Downhill, Portstewart, West Strand, Whiterocks and Portballintrae all consistently
     recorded Excellent status over 4 years. Downhill and Portstewart recorded large number
     of pollution incidents, 26 – Downhill, 21 – Portstewart.
  • East Strand experienced a drop to Satisfactory 2016 and 2017, but returned to Good in
  • Waterfoot is the only beach in the CCGBC to drop from Good in 2016-16 to Satisfactory
     in 2017-18. But shows only 5 confirmed pollution incidents over the 4 year period.

Seasonal variations in water quality are evident when reviewing data from DAERA 23 (Appendix
2). This is more evident in the Antrim Coast and less so in the North Coast. This might be
related to increased visitors and human pollution in the peak tourist season however expert
advice is required.

Blue Flags are awarded to beaches which demonstrate excellent water quality consistently
throughout the previous four bathing seasons. The Blue Flag programme is operated under the
Foundation for Environmental Education globally and administered by KNIB locally. 24 In
Northern Ireland there are nine Blue Flag beaches and two Blue Flag marinas. The Blue Flag
applies only during the current bathing season, from the start of June until mid-September. The
water quality on Blue Flag beaches is measured by DAERA between May and September.
Beach operators must undertake a range of tasks and application fee to be considered for Blue
Flag status.

Blue Flag beaches in CCG area. All in CCGBC area. (Note only three others in NI)
• Downhill Strand.
 •     Magilligan Strand - Benone.
 •     Mill Strand Portrush.
 •     The Strand Portstewart.
 •     Whiterocks.

The Seaside Award is a mark of quality management and clean water for beaches across the
UK. It works towards sustainable development of beaches through strict criteria encompassing
water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and
safety. Seaside Awards are granted annually. KNIB administer this award.

Seaside Award beaches in CCG area: CCGBC MEABC
• Carnlough
• Ballygalley
• Brown’s Bay
• East Strand
• Ballycastle
• Waterfoot

23   DAERA Water Quality Monitoring
24   KNIB Blue Flag for Beaches Webpage
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
•   Castlerock

Awards such as these are a mark of quality and involve much more than just water quality tests
but they are an indication. It is impossible to control water quality as it is open to influence from
so many international factors. Also, fees are required to be eligible for such awards and
Councils may decide to cut this expense. Nevertheless, the waters and beaches of the CCG
area consistently achieve these awards so it is worth noting them as a measure of beach and
water quality in the CCG area.

Summary of data: Water Quality

 Data available    Range of data sets for water quality.
                   Data captured for more than a decade.
 Source            DAERA. Some agencies such as River Agency routinely test but DAERA is
                   the main host of data.
 Quality of data   Data is of high quality.
 Usefulness        There are various datasets within Water Quality and none currently consider
                   tourism when reporting.
                   A decision on which factors are most important would focus research.
                   Long standing nature of data collection allows for benchmarking and
 Notes             The data is from a reputable source and is extensive. However, expert input
                   is required to provide data in a useable format and interpretation.
                   The quality of sea water is open to impact from factors beyond control of
                   any NI body so careful consideration should be given to how is it viewed.
                   Awards can be used as an indicator of water quality, but it should be noted
                   that they may fall out of favor or become too costly to keep applying for.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

Road Usage and Traffic

As mentioned above two out of every three visitors have access to a car 25 and transport
contributes significantly to air pollution in NI. NI is a compact short break destination with a
decent rural road network. The CCR is marketed as a driving route and many private operators
provide organized coach tours which travel all or part of CCR, often stopping at visitor
attractions such as the Dark Hedges and Giant’s Causeway.

Public transport is also available by bus and rail.
Department for Infrastructure has responsibility for roads and transport and this is undertaken
by Transport NI, an agency within the Department.

Road use is very likely to inform research and monitoring of tourism’s potential impact on the
environment. Data collection and monitoring would be most informative if broken down into
areas with specific focus on known attractions and key sensitive sites such as Fairhead, where
high volumes of visitors are highly likely to negatively impact the natural environment.

Overview of current provisions

Road usage/traffic
The CCR, A2 road, is perceived to host high volumes of visitor traffic. Cohesive and informative
data on the visitor traffic along this route is not available.

Annual traffic volumes on the A2 coast road and key inland route from Belfast to Ballymoney
(M2 and A26) plus the coast road between Portstewart and Portrush demonstrate a fairly steady
usage with summer season uplifts. This is likely to reflect domestic overnight tourists
(Portstewart to Portrush) and day trippers taking the inland route to the Giant’s Causeway. 26

OpenDataNI hosts Northern Ireland Traffic Count data 2012-2017. This is extensive data which
requires time to isolate, review and interpret. A direct contribution of data from Transport NI for
research purposes would be easier to manage. Interpretation and insight from Transport NI
would also be helpful.

Broadly speaking road traffic data indicates an increase between 2012 and 2017. However, the
data is not site specific enough or accompanied by any visual assessment to indicate nature of
traffic e.g. hire car, RIO license plate or tour coach.

25   TNI 2018 Visitor Attitude Survey – Local Government District Fact Cards
26   TNI CCR Report
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
Snapshot of road use in Council areas:

MEABC: - NI Traffic Count Data 2012-
2017 Larne to Carnlough (A2) Coast
Annual Average Daily Traffic

 Year          Annual Average
               Daily Traffic
 2012          2897
 2013          3240
 2014          3340
 2015          3140
 2016          3130
 2017          3270
                                              Figure 1 Graph showing the AADT for Larne-Carnlough 2012-2017

CCGBC: - NI Traffic Count Data 2012-
2017 Portrush to Portstewart (A2)
Coast Road
Annual Average Daily Traffic

 Year              Annual Average
                   Daily Traffic
 2013              5150
 2014              5870
 2015              6300
 2016              6830
 2017              6990

                                            Figure 2 Graph showing the AADT for Portstewart-Portrush 2013-2017

Congestions in towns and villages due to visitor traffic is a known issue. The dwell of traffic is
likely increasing air pollutants. No data about this could be sourced.

Local residents’ cite inappropriate or dangerous parking in verges and rural roads as an issue
also. Although this does not have a direct environmental impact it does impact on the
communities living in key tourism areas and should be noted.

Coach Tourism
TNIs CCR report notes that as tourist numbers increase there is a notable increase in coach trips
(one operator brings approximately 70,000 people per year to the Causeway Coast 28).

27   Department for Infrastructure at permanent counter sites NI Traffic Count Data OpenData
28   Source: Meeting with Federation of Passenger Transport NI, 12th September 2018
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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area
The road network in the CCG area is not well suited to coaches, with tight bends, towering cliffs,
tunnels and a limited amount of suitable parking in villages and near some attractions e.g.
Cushendun Caves, Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle.
The nature of many coach tours is to transport day-trip visitors to the Giant’s Causeway, with peak
times being 11am-4pm. Other sites, often with less capacity to accept large numbers of visitors
(such as the Dark Hedges), are on coach tour itineraries.

TNI CCR report states that traffic data indicates there is a daily average of 330 coach and bus
movements through Bushmills during the summer months. This number can increase by
approximately 100 vehicles on days when passengers from a cruise ship are visiting. The table
below provides an example of the increased number of bus movements with Tuesday 29th May
2018 showing a spike in movements – on the day The Royal Princess cruise ship docked in

In contrast, road use data sourced from OpenData NI shows the road between Larne and
Carnlough received an average of just 28 coaches per day in 2017. This further illustrates the
need for area specific data collection as clearly not all parts of the CCG area are experiencing
the same level of pressure from tourist influx.

Table 3 Total Inbound / Outbound Coach / Bus movements through Bushmills - 2018

            Total Coach / Bus Volumes

Traffic     Sat 26th     Sun 27th       Mon 28th     Tues 29th    Wed 30th      Thurs 31st    Fri 1st June
Direction   May          May            May          May          May           May

Inbound     138          133            172          216          182           131           177

Outbound    153          136            151          210          204           189           198

Total       291          269            323          426          386           320           375

This table alone demonstrates how much tourism contributes to road usage, especially near key
attractions. Road use with a focus on understanding the types and origin of vehicles, or purpose
of journey would be very informative to understanding visitor movement and its contribution to
negative environmental impacts.

Notably parking on road verges, at/on/near sensitive sites, especially those in designated lands
is of key concern. More research, site specific analysis and recurrent reporting is required.

Public Transport
Various bus routes service the CCG area and railway services are available from Belfast to a
selection of local stations. Often train and bus services are linked.

TNI CCR report considered the following bus services as within the CCR area: 134 Coast Road,
Limavady; 140 Coleraine, Portrush, Portstewart; 162 Larne to Ballycastle; 178 Coleraine to
Ballycastle via Dervock; 234 Londonderry to Coleraine; 243 Giant’s Causeway, Londonderry;
252 Antrim Coaster, Larne to Ballycastle; 402/172 Causeway Rambler.

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Potential Environmental Impact of Tourism in the Causeway Coast and Glens Area

2017/2018 Bus Service Passenger Numbers

TNI CCR report records an increase in public transport use in CCG area, especially in the
summer months. Public transport is more sustainable than private car travel and so encouraging
its use by visitors would lessen any potential environmental damage to the area. A clearer
understanding of tourist use of public transport should be established and then monitored.

Walking Routes
Many walks and walking routes, such as the Causeway Coast Way, are marketed as tourism
assets across the CCG area. Walking is certainly less harmful on the environment than private
car travel. However, the sensitive nature of local landscapes, habitats and some flora and fauna
mean heavy or increased footfall could have a damaging effect.

Continued erosion of walking routes requires resources to correct and impacts the visual aspect
of the walk. While, some walks traverse designated sites and other sensitive habitats, such as
those near the Giant’ Causeway WHS.

Key walking routes, known pinch points and the most sensitive areas should be considered in
any site selection process.

Passenger data from the Rathlin Ferry shows increasing numbers of cars from 2,828 in 2014/15
to 3,192 in 2018/19. Traffic data also illustrates increasing car numbers along the route[CCR?];
therefore, it is expected that air quality is negatively impacted by transport along the CCR,
particularly in peak season.

Ferries in CCG area
Two ferries operate in the CCG area, the Ballycastle to Rathlin Ferry and the Magilligan to
Green Castle Ferry. Some data was made available for the Rathlin to Ballycastle Ferry by DfI
showing that 104,761 passengers used this ferry between April 2017 and March 2018. It is

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