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Wallace welcomes Urban Tree Planting Programme in Meath

Welcoming the launch of Meath County Council Pride of Place Urban Tree Planting Programme, Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for forestry, commented that "This community development programme will not only bring about urban environment improvements for the use of the whole community but will also contribute greatly to the restoration of the broadleaf tree resource in Co. Meath".

The urban tree planting programme is an innovative project being undertaken in partnership between Meath County Council, the Tree Council of Ireland, Coillte, ENFO and twelve tidy towns groups in the county under the Social and Community Facilities Capital Scheme of the Department of Environment and Local Government.

Commenting on the importance of planting trees in urban areas, Minister of State Wallace also referred to the NeighbourWood Scheme, operated by the Department of Agriculture and Food, which offered considerable support to local authorities, community groups, environmental NGOs and private woodland owners to work in partnership to develop appropriate woodland amenities in and around villages, towns and cities. She added "the Neighbourwood Scheme was a successful element of the old Rural Development Programme that concluded in December 2006. The new Programme, to cover the period from 2007 to 2013, lays renewed emphasis on the recreational functions of forests. My Department will be developing new supports for investments in forest recreation, drawing on the best elements of the old scheme. These will be rolled out following approval of the new Programme by the European Commission".

The Minister of State pointed out that Balrath Wood in Co. Meath is an example of what can be done by local authorities and noted that Meath County Council are continuing their good work through their involvement in the tree planting project.

Minister of State Wallace observed that "This urban tree planting programme will promote civic pride and the role of the tidy towns groups is vital to encourage residents to cherish and protect the trees in Ashbourne, Athboy, Castletown, Dunderry, Dunshaughlin, Julianstown, Kells, Kilskyre, Nobber, Ratoath, Slane and Trim" and concluded by congratulating all involved in the project.

12 February, 2007

Date Released: 12 February 2007