Afforestation Programme

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:15 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin 1:15 pm, 2nd March 2020

The last Member to speak referred to something that I was going to mention. I note and welcome the fact that we have some five million visitors to forest parks each year, who generate £60 million to £80 million through forest-based recreation and tourism. There are some good examples, and I am glad that the Minister mentioned the Gortin Glen forest park in my area, which is a fantastic example of partnership working between his Forest Service and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, which delivered an absolutely fantastic product.

Just last week, I facilitated a group of people from the Cappagh Village Regeneration Group to meet Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to look at realising the potential of the Altmore forest, which covers 597 hectares and straddles the Fermanagh and Omagh and Mid Ulster council districts. As part of the Minister's Forests for the Future strategy, will he give a commitment to build on the excellent work that he and his Department have been engaged in with councils and local communities? Will he commit to bringing back a report on his plans to build, develop and grow that partnership working?