Committee agrees to support Queen's green canopy initiative

ABC councillor resigns from DUP

Cllr Darryn Causby

Adam Morton

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Local Democracy Reporter

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is to support a tree planting initiative in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee.

The decision to support The Queen’s Green Canopy project by linking into the delivery of a number of the existing tree planting campaign where possible was taken at a meeting of the council’s governance, resource and strategy committee on Wednesday, September 8.

Members were made aware the council had received a request to take part in the campaign that aims to see communities, charities, schools, youth groups, Councils and landowners planting trees across the four nations to create a lasting legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the nation.

The Woodland Trust is a leading delivery partner of the campaign and is offering free trees to help schools and communities to plant trees.

Schools and community groups are able to apply for the first one million trees and there are over three million trees in total available via free tree packs.

Council has a range of tree planting projects planned for the next year or so and these include extensive riparian planting along 8km of the Callan River and along 4km of the Tynan River; the planting of native trees in Ardress and tree planting by various community groups, including scouts, Gaelic clubs and schools.

A report on the matter notes there may be an opportunity to link the delivery of these projects into the scheme.

Members were informed that officers will be considering further options over the autumn months and options will be brought before the committee over the next few months.

Having read the report and listened to the council’s head of department: estates and asset management, Jonathan Hayes, Councillor Darryn Causby welcomed the item and said he had intended to bring a notice of motion around the jubilee to the council.

He then put forward a proposal to go slightly further than the officer’s recommendation to support the Queen’s Green Canopy by linking into the delivery of a number of the existing tree planting projects.

“I would take it a wee bit further just to say we should be exploring our open spaces as well to maximise this,” said Cllr Causby.

“We should also encourage community groups and local charities to get involved and make available some of our open park space where appropriate.

“I am thinking of the acres of lands we have available round by Oxford Island, Edenvilla, Portadown People’s Park, Brownstown in my own constituency and round Killicomaine.

“We should be encouraging groups to get involved in this. We hear lots about the focus on bringing down our carbon footprint. One of the ways to do that is by planting trees to offset the emissions.”

He continued: “I think this is a really great initiative by Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales and we should be supporting it and getting behind it and shouting about it and getting the community animated to highlight it.

“I think there are areas where we could be planting 70 good trees, along the back of Brownstown Park. This could both mark the platinum jubilee and contribute to the biodiversity of Brownstown Park along with the wildflower that had recently been planted.

“That is one example and hopefully, when we can get access to these trees at very little cost of any, I think we should be exploring our land portfolio to see what is feasible.”

Councillor Kyle Savage told the committee he was aware of how sensitive people are about planting trees but said he would “wholeheartedly second the proposal” and hopes the council moves forward “to plant as many trees as possible”.

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