Queen’s Green Canopy initiative ‘ironic’ given British Empire deforestation of Ireland - Derry Colr.

A Derry Councillor has branded a Queen’s Green Canopy initiative in the north of Ireland as ‘ironic’ given the country’s forests were felled by Britain in centuries past.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:02 pm
Maeve O'Neill.

People before Profit Colr. Maeve O’Neill made the comments as Derry City and Strabane Environment & Regeneration Committee endorsed the UK-wide tree planting initiative.

The environmental project to mark the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 is inviting people to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’.

Groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates will be encouraged to plant trees from October 2021 through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022. The Woodland Trust will be providing saplings free of charge to schools and communities on a first come-first served basis.

Colr. O’Neill referred to the wiping out Ireland’s forest. “I’m all for planting trees but I can’t help see the irony in this given that Ireland was one of the most heavily forested regions in Europe and now from massive deforestation we only have 7% forest coverage and only 0.05% is native woodland. We need to look at the British Empire and Ireland as the first colony and the felling of our forest which is largely down to the industrial development and the fuel hungry Britain in the 16th Century and also the vast clearance of forests for agriculture purposes which continued during the Plantation period and now with the Jubilee the Empire is back to plant trees.”

Councils’ Green Infrastructure Plan 2019 – 2032, outlines the need to increase the number of trees planted. It is hoped the coming years will see the planting of 150 hectare of woodland within the District by 2032.

Other Councillors welcomed the initiative, adding that it was good to see it was ‘community led as to where these trees will be planted’.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter