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Objective 1: Consultation Outcome

Consultation Outcome

We asked respondents if they agreed or disagreed with the objective:

Agree/Disagree with the objective Number
Agreed 50 (91%)
Disagreed 4 (7%)
No answer 1 (2%)

What did respondents say?

The comments made by respondents are provided below.

I agree with Objective One on the basis that as a young person, how we treat the environment will have repercussions for myself and for generations after me. I believe, therefore, that it is important that we act now and don't treat it like it isn't a top priority. I am, however, particularly concerned about the lack of interest in investment in zero emissions public transport by both Mid Ulster council and indeed the NI government. In rural areas, the bus may be available once or twice a day, which encourages the use of cars etc. as a necessity. I think it’s important that public transport is expanded within rural areas. For example, the lack of railway infrastructure in the area is increasingly evident and this could help rural areas in particular and help business within our constituency. There is currently a feasibility study going on for an Armagh to Portadown line. I believe that Mid Ulster council should be pushing for the same due to the fact that no railway infrastructure has existed in the area for decades or in the North West bar Derry. Re-establishing dormant railway lines could go a long way in helping rural communities and revitalising them and seizing an opportunity to be able to travel for school and work to Belfast and Dublin using public transport and therefore removing the necessity of petrol and diesel vehicles to complete such journeys. It could also help the local economy of the likes of Dungannon and Donaghmore and Coalisland because quite honestly with business closures evident and the severe lack of thriving small businesses in the area, they need all the help they can get. This is one way, which I believe to be important, to significantly deal with the climate crisis. It is not something to be overlooked. It needs to be dealt with now.

It is to be welcomed that MUDC is addressing the need for a reduction in adverse environmental impacts and an improvement of the wider local environment. I would further encourage the Council to abandon plans to destroy the natural mature environment at the former High School in Maghera and, given the year that we’ve just had and maybe, as is being suggested, this is a repetitive event, support health and wellbeing as well as individual and family life in developing this site as a shared inclusive park. Mature sites like this are to be valued for their high environmental asset value, not turned for profit, especially with an absolute deficit of quality parks serving the north of the District.

Agreed but real action needs to take place. For example, Maghera has a population of over 5,000 and there's not a single sizeable public natural open space in the town where one can cycle a bike, run or take children for a decent walk with a pram. The council need to deliver a park for a growing population.

Maghera has a perfect site to help meet this objective. The former Maghera High school site would be perfect to be developed to help improve the wider environment through local action.

The industrialisation of Maghera high school grounds needs to be reconsidered and the peoples voices heard. It has provided us with a safe place to exercise improving mental and physical health throughout lockdown and it is a valuable part of our community!

A healthy local environment is extremely important to me and my family. We would love If the old Maghera high grounds could be left as a park, keep the trees and keep the wildlife.

I look forward to the Council returning the former Maghera High School site to a parkland facility that the local community can use.

I feel there is a need for an open spaced in the Maghera community. There already is one available in the site of the old High school. This could be used to provide a play area, walking area, green space; there are a number of things that could be added to the space to make it a community park/woodland. Especially now when we are encouraging good mental health for all. Somewhere people don't have to pay, especially in the current situation where families have lost incomes, and are struggling; the increased use of the local food bank has highlighted this. The area doesn't need any more empty buildings and needs an area that is inclusive for all. Ensuring an impact for the wider environment, by not cutting down mature trees, which are required and providing homes for local wildlife.

This means less building over beautiful natural landscapes that provide habitats for flora and fauna. And more back to nature.

A good start would be not to turn the old high school in Maghera into an industrial estate but instead create a much-needed green space for everyone to enjoy. Given the lockdowns over the last year, a park would have been ideal, as we were encouraged to stay local. There is nowhere for our children to be taken for a walk safely. Keeping the trees in the area would be one way to enhance the environment.

Very much needed especially the problem of litter I would also like to see more input on nature projects.

The first thing to consider is the protection of mature trees. Maghera has trees including giant redwoods, which must be preserved. People need open green spaces away from the noise and pollution of busy roads. It is not healthy for mind or body to be walking or running next to continuous traffic. Most towns can claim that they have a green space or wooded area. Maghera, which is an ever-growing town, cannot boast of this simple necessity. It is time for change.

How can you say such a statement when you are fighting to turn the old school grounds into an industrial estate? There is nothing in this town for the young people. They turn to drugs and drink because they are bored to death. Build a park, implement a skate park or equivalent in it so the children can have a hobby!

Maghera high School site should be turned into a park, and not developed for industrial units.

Your objective may be achieved by not developing the old high school site in Maghera into industrial units. This site should be made into a park with facilities for wild life and citizens to enjoy open space close to where they live.

The mature woodland and play areas at the old High School should be retained and improved for the local community to use. This saves the different species in the area and saves one of the last mature woodlands in our town. I'd like to see the council promote individual litter picking (not just annual GAA cleans) and support recycling initiatives like Recycle for KC Northern Ireland.

The Council can support the environment in Maghera by not destroying the mature woods and parkland at the former High School. The site and flood plain should be developed instead to support the surrounding ecology: bats, owls, otters, woodpeckers, buzzards as well as a place where the local community can access recreation without having to drive.

In line with objective, one the old high school site in Maghera should obtain investment and become parkland for the community as opposed to being sold to developers.

We need open spaces away from traffic and fumes.

Council should consider the environmental impact there would be if the former high school grounds were turned in to a business park. The natural biodiversity that has developed over decades would be completely destroyed. This area should be carefully improved with consideration, to maintain the natural ecological balance that already exists. It would also keep extra traffic to a minimum as it would connect to the plantin walk, making it accessible for all the town to walk there.

Improve the environment by not wrecking the trees in leagan tóchair Park in Maghera. Literally hundreds of trees reclaiming the old school, all we have to do is not concrete over it.

Destroying the woodland and parkland at the former High School site in Maghera to provide industrial units would have a very damaging effect on the ecology and natural environment of our town and surrounding area. It will impact both by destroying mature trees and environment, which support air quality and wildlife, and encourage car use by any employment it might provide as this cannot be guaranteed from the local area. The site also supports local ecology by providing shelter to a range of species, which inhabit the area. The Council could lessen their impact by relocating their industrial park to a more suitable area and developing this site as a woodland, like Garvagh Forest, and give the local community a quality park for safe family use and recreation. Future generations and the climate will benefit from the Council saving the natural environment on this site.

Perhaps, a more front loading of guidance to the public.

I agree with this objective and wonder why Council has not declared a climate state of emergency like others councils have.

Climate change is an urgent matter so it is great to see the Council doing what it can to reduce its own environmental impacts.

We must strive for better in Mid Ulster. There isn't enough accessible green space for our communities. This is so prevalent in rural areas. Let's create walking and cycling routes, community woodlands. Empower locals to reduce management costs. Be brave and think outside the box.

The maintenance of the mature environment at the old Maghera high school site would certainly assist the council in attaining this objective.

The council's proposal to develop the old Maghera High School site as an industrial development would have a huge negative environmental impact. The removal of mature trees, the benefit of which cannot be replaced by saplings, is extremely questionable in a region with the lowest woodland cover in Europe. I am unsure how the council can justify this against objective one, when it has purchased further adjoined land that does not contain the same mature flora, and developing the additional land would have much less environmental impact.

Please ensure mature trees are not removed.

Mid Ulster District Council can lessen their impact on the environment by not destroying the mature ecological system on the Maghera High School site as well as the wildlife and large number of trees.

I definitely agree that Mid Ulster Council should reduce the environmental impacts of their activities, starting with the former Maghera high school site. Business park plans will see its trees and habits destroyed for business. Surly there is a more suitable site for this business park. The high school site should be protected, we need to hold on to the trees we have, it is senseless to destroy this site and propose a park for residents in a field with no mature trees. Mental health and biodiversity should be at the front when moving forward with plans, especially in the current climate when people rely on outdoor facilities so much.

Think the old Largantogher high school site needs to have the beautiful flowers and wildlife kept as this will protect nature and improve the environment! The walkway is beautiful but just not long enough. It's a very calming and tranquil place to go.

The destruction of mature oaks in Maghera by MUDC concerns me. These can host 280 species of wildlife. The planned removal of the giant Sequoia trees also concern me. The loss of habitats cannot be reduced by tiny saplings planted elsewhere.

As a group dedicated to campaigning for the restoration and development of the lands and woods at the former Maghera High School, we would welcome the Council's ambitions to reduce the impact on the environment of their activities. We would, in the first instance, suggest, as one of the two last remaining wooded areas in the town, the ecology of the High School site is protected, with immediate effect. Recent plans announced of land purchased alongside the site, to be developed economically as well as for recreation, are to be welcomed. However, plans to destroy mature, natural habitat to design and plant green fields for recreation purposes would have a catastrophic effect on the surrounding ecology; it would be counterproductive to destroy such an established, rich habitat only to hope to develop one which could only be replicated in 150 years’ time. This does not fit in with climate crisis targets.

Further, the CAVAT for the High School site remains high given the situation of the site within the town planning boundary. Council plans, approved in February 2020, to industrialise the High School site, showed little solid evidence of actual economic benefit to the town. Any projected job totals cannot be guaranteed and certainly not from the local area. It is more likely that profound local benefit will be achieved in restoring the site to community recreational and educational use, a view supported by over 1,400 of the community and all the local and surrounding schools (10). Protecting high quality natural environment for community use has been proven to support the health and well-being of families, as well as the mental health and academic achievement of children. The Council can reduce its impact by withdrawing these plans. Should Council continue to pursue economic activity as necessary on green-field adjacent land, it must take the form of sympathetic development, with environmentally, creative solutions of the highest standard and the agreement of the local community. The Glebelands form the environmental window for the majority of passing 'traffic' to the town, as well as a wildlife corridor between its floodplains and the lower Sperrins. Any development or change to their structure must be sensitive to these considerations and in keeping with the Council's wish to reduce its environmental impact. We applaud the Council's promise to contribute to the improvement of the wider environment through local action.

By listening to and supporting this campaign, encompassing, not only this important site, adjacent Church lands, the proximity to Ballynahone Bog, but the walkways throughout the town and shared access for residents and schools to use these lands for the good, cutting down on travel and car use around outside the area, Mid Ulster District Council sends a message to other areas that it values environmental concerns and protections as priorities, not just for itself but in support of local communities. Governments, local and national, have become increasingly aware of the urgent need to attend to climate change issues. Destruction of any sites of mature ecological value must be prohibited at all costs, with government leading by example.

The Council's website does not seem to have an area which highlights all of the environmental work undertaken by Council, from Eco school programmes, through to conservation, managing diversity, tree planting, allotments, and sustainable work, air quality, the local development plan nor does it seem to have any data or information relating to climate change and what this means for us in the district. When I look at other Councils their members seem to be more vocal regarding climate change and are able to articulate how this will impact their local areas and what they are going to do about it now in the short, medium and long-term. The Council also need to develop green policies, particularly around procurement, fleet, assets but can start with small things we can all do look waste bins in work, turning off lights and machines at the end of the day, the use of plastics in events

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