Community involvement key in NMDCC Tree Action Plan

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

TREES are our history and our future.

The importance of trees can never be underestimated.

For that reason Newry, Mourne and Down District Council are developing a Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy for the years ahead.

The Council’s Neighbourhood Service Committee sat last week to discuss ways to develop Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Tree Strategy.

The Council Action Plan is to create resilient landscapes that can absorb and recover from natural and human pressures, adapt to future change, and retain a diverse range of wildlife and benefits for people.

The report states that a human produces 60 tonne of carbon per annum.

There are 179,000 residents in the Borough - 10 tonnes of carbon per resident - 4475 hectares of additional planting required for effective carbon offset.

The Action Plan mirrors the developing Tree Strategy: Sustainable Management; Appropriate Planting; Effective Protection; Innovative Involvement and Partnership Working.

The Report states: “It is paramount to conserve and maintain old and large trees.

“Replacing old trees with newly planted ones is essential, but for new trees to replicate the benefits of older trees they need to be replaced at a rate of approximately 40 to 1.

“Alternatively, we can wait for 30-50 years for their value to increase naturally. Older and larger urban trees in particular are currently undervalued and should not be removed unless essential.

“Trees are our history and also our future. They define our landscape. Research which is currently emerging proves that humans feel much better in the company of trees

“Especially in urban areas we need contact with the natural world. Trees bring this right into urban centres, minimising the impact of the built environment by providing colour, shade and shelter via the tactile link with nature. They as way-markers and signposts for us and provide homes for wildlife.

“By careful species selection it is possible to provide trees that contribute to improved air quality, reduce noise and control run off from heavy rain.

“Trees are integrated to our well-being, health and overall quality of life.

“It is essential that existing trees are conserved and managed to ensure they bring benefits to future generations.

“We also, however, need to identify and action ways to increase tree numbers across the District in both urban and rural locations. This is the overriding objective of the Tree Strategy.”

Many trees across Newry, Mourne and Down District Council are accompanied by local legends and folklore providing a direct link for people connecting with their ancestral and cultural heritage.

A five year action plan is proposed and will provide a range of themed initiatives grouped according to their contribution to each of the main objectives.

“Community Grioups have a key role to play in maintaining the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council tree resource,” the report states.

“Involvement with local tree planting initiatives and identify notable trees in specific areas is all key to supporting the development of NMDCC Tree Strategy and its Action Plan.

“There would be considerably less trees in the District if it wee not for the willingness of the public to support planting and especially maintaining the specific trees.”

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