Other News In Brief

SDLP Welcomes Extension Of Union Street Pedestrianisation

The SDLP has welcomed the news that the pedestrianisation of Union Street in Belfast city centre is to be extended.

The current scheme will be extended for six months from June 11, then a decision will be taken on whether to make the scheme permanent.

The Department for Infrastructure confirmed the extension in response to an Assembly question from the SDLP.

Councillor Carl Whyte said: "Since Union Street was pedestrianised by the SDLP's Nichola Mallon it has given a boost to both local businesses and customers alike, providing a new space for them to consume products purchased nearby or to simply sit and relax while going about their day.

"This a bustling and thriving part of our city centre and this pedestrianisation alongside the other improvements in terms of lighting and street furniture has really added to the experience of everyone visiting this area. Keeping this area free of vehicles also contributes to public safety, with large numbers of people gathering and visiting hospitality businesses in the vicinity, particularly at weekends.

"I am glad the success of the initial scheme has been recognised and hope to see these benefits retained permanently at the end of the year. I also welcome confirmation that a proposal for the pedestrianisation of Hill Street will be finalised shortly and would like to see other parts of our city centre considered for this scheme. Spaces like this have proved hugely successful in major cities across the world and Belfast can benefit from adopting that model."

Poots Plants Trees At Tollymore In Queen's Green Canopy Initiative

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has participated in the planting of a small grove of trees at Tollymore Forest Park as part of the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC) initiative.
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The QGC is a unique tree planting initiative which invites people across the UK to 'Plant a tree for the Jubilee' to create a legacy in honour of The Queen's leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.

Opened in June 1955, Tollymore Forest Park is Northern Ireland's first state forest park attracting over 200,000 visits per annum. It covers an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountain and acts as a gateway for walkers and visitors to the wider geographical area and has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle.

Minister Poots stated after his visit: "I was delighted to visit Tollymore Forest Park to recognise the contribution the park has made for society. Tollymore is a popular amenity both for tourists and local people, providing wonderful walks, views and rich cultural heritage.

"The QGC is a unique initiative which encourages people to play their part to enhance our environment by planting trees and appreciate the contribution of trees and woodland to help mitigate against the impacts of climate change, create important plant and wildlife habitats, enhance our environment and provide a wide-range of benefits to the local community.

"The significant value of trees and woodlands is promoted by my Department's Forests for Our Future Programme which aims to create 9,000 hectares of new woodland by 2030 by raising the importance of forests and encouraging landowners to plant new woodlands."

51-Year-Old Man Charged With Number Of Firearm Offences

A 51-year-old man arrested in connection with a bomb hoax involving the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, has been charged with a number of firearms offences.

The man is due to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court today, Monday 13 June.

He is charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of a handgun and ammunition without a certificate

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