Press release

Green Party launch ambitious plans for urban woodlands

17th May 2024
Grace O'Sullivan, Oliver Moran and Dan Boyle

The Green Party launched its plan to dramatically increase urban woodland areas today (May 17) in Cork City. This is part of a policy to restore nature in urban areas and plant 1 million trees over the next five years. The Green Party local election manifesto promises to give communities the power to protect beloved local nature sites and require wildlife corridors in large developments.

Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said;

“Our towns and cities don’t have to be concrete jungles, we can create islands of nature and biodiversity with urban woodlands. Planting trees is one of the most effective methods of tackling climate change, as well as contributing to improved biodiversity and water quality, and my Department provides generous funding for recreational woodlands through the NeighbourWoods scheme in the new Forestry Programme. The Green Party is using its position in government to deliver climate action and we will empower local councils to do the same.”

Grace O’Sullivan, MEP for Ireland South said;

“We are dedicated to restoring nature and letting biodiversity blossom in our urban areas. The health and wellbeing of the environment is deeply interwoven with our own health and wellbeing. The Green Party will give local communities the power to create new nature reserves and make their local areas vibrant green spaces.”

The Greens in Government have prioritised protecting and restoring nature. We have almost doubled the funding for nature and, established new national parks and marine protected areas, appointed biodiversity officers in every local authority and have been the strongest voices for the Nature Restoration Law. This shows why it is vital to have Green voices on local councils and in Europe to ensure someone stands up to restore biodiversity, improve air and water quality, and takes serious climate action.

Councillor Dan Boyle said;

“St. John's Park is an oasis in Cork South Inner City. Through voluntary effort it has become more sustainable and a haven for biodiversity. There must be more such spaces and more support for communities seeking to bring them in being.”

Councillor Oliver Moran said;

"Cork City Council has put nature to the forefront in the city by putting in place staff whose job it is to defend nature. It was the Green Party on Cork City Council, supported by the Greens in Government, who made that happen.

"We've gone from being a city that removed more trees every year than it planted to having a Trees Officer in place and not one but two Biodiversity Officers. One of those is funded locally and the other nationally under the scheme brought in by Malcolm Noonan. That's directly led to the drafting of our Trees Strategy and put us in a position where now 4,000 trees are being planted by the city every year.

"The challenge doesn't end there. With a strategy in place and canopy cover being turned around, we have to now get serious about protecting areas designated for nature in the city. The council elected in June will need to follow that up with Tree Protection Orders, beginning with areas already designated Landscape Preservation Zones for tree canopy and ecology.

"That's why voting Green in the local elections is a vote for serious action to restore nature in the city. To keep going green on the achievements hard won during this council term."

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