Afforestation Programme

Part of Ministerial Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 1:30 pm on 2nd March 2020.

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Photo of Clare Bailey Clare Bailey Green 1:30 pm, 2nd March 2020

I thank the Minister for his statement. It is welcome to see him move so swiftly to take action on reforestation across Northern Ireland. As somebody who lives on the boundary of Belvoir Park forest and who spent the weekend in Cregagh Glen, I have to say that the work done by many agencies to look after our spaces is to be commended. It was great to hear that you could plant another million trees in Belfast, because everybody benefits from having such spaces.

I was going to ask the Minister about the land that has been identified for planting, but I think that he addressed that when he spoke about not planting on land that can release more carbon than the trees would capture. Can he therefore give us any updates on how his Department is working to establish an independent environmental protection agency, as was voted for in the House a few weeks back?