Trees 'compromised' flood defences along River Moyola

The Department of Infrastructure (DfI) say the removal of a number of mature trees along the River Moyola was part of a flood defence scheme.

Concerns were raised about the trees being cut down on the outskirts of Tobermore by local man Declan Kelly who questioned whether the “vandalism” was necessary.

He complained to the Rivers Agency about the destruction and raised the matter with the Woodlands Trust.

Mr Kelly said he didn’t understand why it was necessary to cut down 26 mature trees that were on the ramparts on the landward side facing into a field.

Tree stumps left after the clearance along banks of River Moyola outside Tobermore.
Tree stumps left after the clearance along banks of River Moyola outside Tobermore.
Tree stumps left after the clearance along banks of River Moyola outside Tobermore.

He first noticed the trees cut down when he returned to the golf driving range on Maghera Road after it was reopened when Covid restrictions eased.

Mr Kelly was of the opinion that we should be doing everything we can to preserve what trees we have left.

“After all this was once known as the Oakleaf county,” he remarked.

“I couldn’t understand why it was necessary for these mature trees to be cut down as they were a long way from

the river.”

In his letter to the department, Mr Kelly highlighted that as well as at least 26 mature trees many other trees were cut down on both sides of the A29 road.

“In fact, many more trees may have been cut down but I am not able to ascertain how many, as the site is closed to members of the public.

“Having searched the DfI website I can see no information about infrastructure works on the banks of the Moyola river,” he wrote.

He asked: “Why was it necessary to cut down all of these trees, especially as they were on the landward side of the ramparts and not overhanging the river? Was this work advertised in advance? Was there any consultation with local people?”

A DfI spokesman said: “A number of trees had to be removed as part of the Moyola Flood Defence Rehabilitation Scheme because they compromised the overall integrity of the new flood defence.

“This scheme commenced in 2019 and includes the removal of channel silt and aquatic weed growth and the construction and repair or protection of flood defences.

“Before works commenced they were publicly advertised and consultations carried out with local landowners and relevant statutory consultees.”

The spokesperson stressed that the Department also commissioned an Ecology Survey to provide further assurance to the general public.


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