NMD Council Launches A First In NI With Tree Scheme

Urban Tree Planting and Environmental Improvement Scheme at Kilkeel.

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Urban Tree Planting and Environmental Improvement Scheme at Kilkeel.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council recently secured funding to develop its first small scale urban tree planting and roadside improvement scheme at Knockchree Avenue, Kilkeel.

This environmental scheme is the first of its type in Northern Ireland.


Zena Elias and Ella Nicholson are pictured planting a tree with a member of Newry Mourne and Down District Council’s Grounds Maintenance team on location at Knockchree Avenue Kilkeel.

The location in Kilkeel was selected due to the traffic flow, the number of road users and the fact the area had one of the lowest tree cover values in Northern Ireland.

Council Chairperson Councillor Laura Devlin said: “Emerging clearly is the importance of trees in purifying our air and reducing respiratory illness.

“The recent COVID-19 health crisis can bring out the best in us and bring people together as a community across the district.

“This has been evidenced in Kilkeel where over 100 residents and families fully embraced the urban tree planting scheme in June.” 

Trees play a vital role in reducing pollution and absorb carbon dioxide but also play a vital role in terms of contributing to our mental and physical wellbeing.  

While the advent of COVID-19 meant many local improvement works were virtually at a standstill, the Council took the decision to formulate a new environmental improvement scheme and roll it out on a district wide basis.

An environmental scheme concept that could work to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents, particularly during the lockdown, was at the core of this initiative.

The urban tree planting and environmental improvement scheme was developed by the Council in partnership with the local community.

Over 40 trees were planted along a section of dual carriageway. The area has now has been transformed into a very attractive tree lined routeway. 

Each tree was planted and adopted by a local family in Kilkeel and community support has contributed to the project’s success.    The Urban Tree Planting and Environmental Improvement Scheme will continue to be implemented across the district by Council over the coming months. Other locations where the scheme will be implemented include Rostrevor, Newcastle, Castlewellan, Newry and Downpatrick.

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The entire scheme has been measured using the I Tree Calculator with the specific Long-term Environmental Benefits Detailed including:

•        Greenhouse Gas (GHG) sequestered and avoided (owing to reductions in energy use)

•        Energy conserved

•        Air pollutants captured and avoided

•        Stormwater filtered