Community urged to attend One Million Trees event in Ormeau Park

By Connor Lynch

The Ormeau Road community is being encouraged to attend an event in Ormeau Park where they can "give a tree a home".

The Belfast City Council One Million Trees campaign is a project that hopes to help improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions across the city by planting a million trees by 2035.

The scheme was sparked by an idea from the Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group and has so far seen around 40,000 trees planted in the city.

As part of the project, on Saturday, January 22, in Ormeau Park, 500 saplings will be available which people will be able to take home and plant themselves.

Botanic SDLP councillor Gary McKeown said: “One Million Trees is a fantastic opportunity to re-green our city and make it a healthier and more pleasant place to live and work, but its success depends on Belfast residents getting involved by both suggesting locations for planting, and indeed planting tree themselves.

“The idea, which originated with Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group, was brought to council by my party colleague Cllr Brian Heading and aims to see one million native trees planted over a 15-year period.

“Each year the council will be asking for people’s ideas about how we can make One Million Trees happen in the Belfast, in particular to identify potential sites for planting. Last year 275 suggested tree locations in the city were submitted, and the 2022 call for ideas has now opened.

"The Belfast One Million Trees delivery team will then assess these sites for suitability. The project is a collaboration between public, private and voluntary sector partners, so the team also wants to hear from businesses and public landowners across the city who would be willing to plant trees on their land.

“You can submit your ideas for tree locations by adding them to the interactive map at https://yoursay.belfastcity.gov.uk/one-million-trees.

Residents are also being encouraged to ‘give a tree a home’ at a tree giveaway in Ormeau Park.

Cllr McKeown added: “At the heart of One Million Trees is community involvement, so the team will be offering 500 free saplings to good homes at the bandstand in Ormeau Park from 10am-3pm on Saturday January 22, meaning residents can plant them and help contribute towards the project’s aims of reducing carbon, improving air quality and reducing flooding.

“This is a great opportunity for people to play a hands-on role in enhancing our city and watch their tree grow over the years. It’ll also contribute to the wider effort across the island to increase tree numbers, as we have one of the lowest levels of forest cover in Europe. This is essential in helping to tackle climate change, and also to enhance environmental sustainability and diversity.

“There will also be tree-inspired stories at the event and members of the public will have the chance to listen to some poetry and folklore, and have the opportunity to learn about the history of woodlands across Ormeau and Belvoir.”

The project’s key partners include the Woodland Trust, the Conservation Volunteers and Belfast Hills Partnership.


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