Massive tree planting project transforms old Tyrone landfill site

More than 11,000 trees have transformed an old landfill site into a community woodland outside Cookstown.

Magheraglass landfill site has been transformed.
Magheraglass landfill site has been transformed.
Magheraglass landfill site has been transformed.

It was originally planned that pupils from local primary schools would participate in the project by planting the trees over a number of supervised days in April. However due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of schools this was not possible.

The Council progressed with the work at the former Magheraglass landfill site which saw native broadleaf trees, including Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Alder, Rowan, Wild Cherry, Aspen, Hazel, Crab Apple, Guelder Rose, Willow, Scots Pine and Oak, planted across almost 6 hectares.

Owned by Mid Ulster District Council, the former landfill facility has been capped since the Autumn/Winter of 2018/19. The capped area along with other unused areas of the old sand pit provided 5.6 hectares of available space suitable for tree planting.

Chair of the Council’s Environment Committee, Councillor Sean McGuigan is pleased the land is being utilised in such a beneficial and positive way:

“Magheraglass means ‘green plain’ and with the completion of this work the site now fully deserves such a topographical description. The landfill site was originally a sandpit which successfully met the waste disposal needs of the Cookstown area for 2 decades. To see the historic site transformed into a beautiful woodland is a very fitting tribute to the service it provided to local residents for 20 years, and will indeed form the next stage in the site’s legacy, providing the same community with a beautiful green space they can all enjoy.”

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister, Edwin Poots MLA said:

“This new native woodland will create a valuable natural resource contributing to a healthy, quality environment and help to mitigate climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere. To help other landowners plant some of their land and create new woodlands like this project I recently announced the reopening of the Forest Expansion Grant Scheme which will contribute to my Department’s ‘Forests For Our Future’ programme of planting 18 million trees by 2030 and creating 9,000 hectares of new woodland to help our environment and economy.”

A representative from Indiwoods added:

“IndiWoods specialises in creating native woodlands throughout Northern Ireland using Native Irish local provenance trees where possible. We welcome the opportunity to plant woodland, especially on a landfill site, turning the land back to its original status, storing carbon and enhancing our environment. The Forest Expansion Scheme makes this possible and is a fantastic opportunity for anyone considering planting on their land for winter 2020.”

The planting scheme is being managed by Indiwoods, an organisation which encourages native woodland planting and funded via the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Forestry Expansion Scheme, providing £24K towards the cost of the trees and their maintenance over the next three years.

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