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MEA tree planting

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A tree planting initiative in Mid and East Antrim is set to continue with 200 expected to be planted in Carrick’s Castlemara estate, a report to the council’s Climate Change Working Group has stated.

The scheme is one of a number earmarked for the borough as part of the ‘MEA4Trees’ campaign which is a partnership between the council and the Woodland Trust.

A further 200 are expected to be planted in the field above the “natural play area” in Carnlough.

The largest number to be planted by the borough council in the next round will be in the Ballymena area, where 1,200 are bound for the Tullgarley River Walk; 600 at The Commons and 50 in the Buttermilk areas in Broughshane and 400 at Mullaghbuoy in Portglenone.

The campaign will see approximately 58,000 native trees planted – one for every household in Mid and East Antrim – over the next five years.

Last winter 17,348 were planted across the borough.

Climate Change Committee member Carrickfergus representative Alderman Billy Ashe said that the local authority should be “ambitious in its target and further areas could be considered”.

Committee chairman Councillor Gregg McKeen warned against planting trees at tourist attractions such as The Gobbins, in Islandmagee, where “views could be impacted”.

Speaking at the launch of the tree planting season in December, Ian McCurley, director of The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland, said: “We can all take action against climate change and tree planting is one of the most effective, simple and cost effective solutions.

“Not only do the trees absorb Co2, they support wildlife, provide outdoor access and are a great way to get communities involved in looking after the environment. ”

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