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 Jonathan Buckley Jonathan Buckley DUP 1:15 pm, 2nd March 2020

I, too, pay tribute to the Minister for this positive statement. I can think of no better place than this beautiful, wood-inspired environment in which to announce positive action on afforestation. I draw particular attention to the Department's forest parks, which he mentioned, and I note that, in my constituency and the surrounding area, we have Peatlands Park and Loughgall Country Park. The Minister quoted visitor numbers of five million and the positive lifestyle and fitness regimes that those parks can provide. In many areas, the biggest obstacle is access, particularly in the winter months. Will the Minister commit to looking at potential ways of opening up parks to provide better access, thereby boosting the numbers who can benefit from those tree-inspired environments?