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Call for progress on wildflower road verges following councillor concerns on four pilot sites

'The issue of climate change and increasing biodiversity are of vital importance to everybody'

Craigavon Civic Centre

An apparent lack of progress on a project to plant wildflowers and reduce the number of grass verges has been raised at a council meeting.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s environmental services committee is to receive an update on the local authority’s road verge pilot project, following concerns by councillors.

The issue was raised at the council’s monthly meeting in October by Councillor Tim McCelland who said the issue of climate change and increasing biodiversity are of vital importance to everybody.

“As a council, officers brought forward a pilot project to establish wildflowers within our area as a means both of enhancing biodiversity and reducing the area of grass verge that we are responsible for cutting in the borough,” he said.

“Of the four sites, there were two in Lurgan, one in Armagh and there was one within my own Lagan River DEA just outside of Donaghcloney.

“However, for what seems like the past couple of years now, I have been in contact with various council officers in terms of the rollout of this very important project.

“In terms of the Moygannon Road site I have not seen much movement and I ask that a report be brought to the relevant committee highlighting the progress of this project.

“Time is moving on and it concerns me that I am not seeing any movement on the ground.”

Council’s strategic director of neighbourhood services, Sharon O’Gorman, confirmed the report would be brought to the environmental services committee.

Councillor Keith Haughian said it was important every councillor understood just how frustrating the lack of progress on this project has been.

“There has been a motion brought before this council, several times this has been raised on committee and lately Councillor Brona Haughey and I have asked questions as to why this is taking so long,” he said.

“Whilst we have had debates that show division, tonight we can have a debate here that shows absolute unity.”

Councillor Peter Lavery said he was looking forward to the report coming before the committee and noted a patch of wildflower had been cut down earlier this year in Lurgan.

“The wildflower along the Kiln Road in Lurgan was unfortunately cut earlier this year,” he said.

“It was either cut by the Department for Infrastructure or council but what it now means is that it no longer exists as wildflower and needs about three or four years of consistent regeneration where it is only cut in the autumn months.

“That is extremely disappointing. The biodiversity seems to have gone now and this is something we need to continue to push for and I look forward to that report coming back.”

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