Minister welcomes new woodland in Portadown

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Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd and Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Sorchá McGeown pictured with elected representatives Cllr Paul Duffy, Cllr Clare McConville Walker, Council staff, Amey Consultants, DFI staff and local residents at the new woodland area in Woodside Green.

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd joined community volunteers, elected representatives, council staff and Amey consultants for a major tree planting event in Portadown on Wednesday 24 April.

The Minister was accompanied by Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Sorchá McGeown to the site, where 1,200 trees supplied by the Woodland Trust were planted on waste ground near the Garvaghy Road at Woodside Green.

Throughout the day, local people of all ages took their turn at planting the young trees which included native breeds of Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Sessile Oak, Pedunculate Oak, Rowan and Alder.

The Minister for Infrastructure John O’Dowd who also planted a tree, said: “I really welcomed this opportunity to join volunteers, the Council, the Woodland Trust and staff from my Department in planting 1,200 trees.

“Significant work has been completed to minimise the environmental impact of the much-needed Portadown Flood Alleviation Scheme. Where it may be necessary for trees to be removed, we will always endeavour to replant in the surrounding areas.

“Today we are laying the roots for our next generation by helping to build a safer, cleaner and greener society and I commend everyone who came together to help make this happen.”

Deputy Lord Mayor, Sorchá McGeown praised all those who took part.  She said: “There is a great community spirit here on the Garvaghy Road and it is great to see the Woodside Residents Association working in partnership with our Council to transform this waste ground into this wonderful new woodland.

“I would also like to thank the staff from Amey Consultants for their work here and also the Woodland Trust who kindly supplied the trees. This is now a space which can be a haven for wildlife and for future generations to enjoy.”

The project was organised in partnership between ABC Council, The Woodland Trust, local community groups in Drumcree, Woodside and Churchill, and Amey Consultants who are the design consultants in the flood alleviation scheme which is being developed by the Department for Infrastructure.