Afforestation Programme

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:00 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 1:00 pm, 2nd March 2020

That is a course of work that my officials are looking at, but we are not in a position at this stage to give an outline of that programme. I will bring forward other issues that will demonstrate our commitment to having a quality, enhanced environment in Northern Ireland, where we will have cleaner waterways, cleaner air and a reduced carbon footprint. All of that is achievable by taking necessary steps. Some of those will be small steps and some will be larger, but nonetheless we will take them. This is one of the important steps that we are taking. I trust that the BBC, for example, will recognise that this is an important step and not a waste of money; there was a programme that went out, I think, last week that slammed the Assembly for wanting to plant trees.

I think it put the cost of planting at something like £10 per tree; we can actually acquire whips for around 50p per tree. It is not a huge expense to the public purse; it is a benefit to the public purse. I trust that the BBC will reflect on the stupidity and the fallacy in a lot of the issues that it raised with the New Decade, New Approach deal and our commitment to planting more trees and making a better environment in Northern Ireland.