DAERA Minister provides update on condition of trees at Woodburn drill site

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister, Edwin Poots, has revealed the condition of reestablished trees in Woodburn Forest following a recent assessment at the site.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 3:09 pm

A 2016 project to create an exploratory borehole at Woodburn Forest, which was led by oil and gas exploration firm InfraStrata, faced opposition from residents and community groups.

In June 2016 InfraStrata announced that operations would cease after exploration failed to find any trace of hydrocarbons.

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PACEMAKER BELFAST Campaigners maintained a presence at the Woodburn site throughout the drilling operation (archive photo).

Mr Poots moved to clarify the condition of the trees at the site in response to questions from East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson.

Mr Dickson asked Minister Poots whether the trees on the former drill site in Woodburn Forest are showing above average mortality, when was the last inspection of the site carried out, whether any areas of concern were noted and if so, what actions have been put in place to address those areas of concern.

In response, Minister Poots said: “The site was replanted in 2017 with a mixture of native broadleaves and conifer species. Forest Service’s operational practices include assessments of survival of recently planted trees through which the Woodburn site is deemed to meet an adequate level of growing trees to reconstitute a woodland.

“The most recent assessment of the site was carried out in March 2021.

“This assessment identified the need for some remedial work to control herbaceous weed species and a small number of dead trees to be replaced. This is normal practice during the early years of re-establishing forests and is not a cause for specific concern.”

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