Lyttle challenges Gildernew over lack of woodland creation

Alliance Environment Spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has challenged the Agriculture Minister in the Assembly over her failure to meet her woodland creation targets. He asked a question to Michele Gildernew in the Assembly yesterday which revealed that only 653 hectares of woodland has been created, which is far short of the 1,650 hectare target by March 2011 as set out in the Programme for Government.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I was quite shocked that the Department for Agriculture delivered only a third of its woodland creation targets for this year.

“I know the Minister has shown a commitment to woodlands and recently brought the first Forestry Bill to the Assembly for years; however, this lack of woodland creation is of particular concern, given that Northern Ireland has one of the lowest percentages of woodland cover in Europe.

“The target set by the NI Executive in the Programme for Government was viewed by some as being too low if we are to catch up on other countries and yet it would appear that we will still fall short of our stated aims.

“Other regions such as Wales have better schemes in place to encourage woodland creation and I was pleased to hear from the Minister that she is looking into other initiatives to increase the area of woodland cover in Northern Ireland.”


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