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Save Islandmagee Trees

We can all live together. Nature does not have a voice – Speak up and make your voice heard now.

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News -  Mid and East Antrim's Planning Committee decided to approve Islandmagee Primary School Planning Application on 10th June

On 10th June at 10am, the Planning Committee voted to approve Islandmagee Primary School Planning Application.

You can find an article on the Larne Times last week about it: 

On behalf of Save Islandmagee Trees, we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to express their concerns for nature and trees to the Planners.

On 16th June the BBC reported the lack of action from Northern Ireland government in relation to climate change. In their own words, "what is needed is more action and fewer words". Saddly we tried to reach Conor Macauley from the BBC on several occasions to highlight our story about Islandmagee Primary School and the forest issue but he never got in touch. See a section of this news story at

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Larne Times news - 8th July 2021

You can view the article published by the Larne Times on 8th July 2021 on our resident concerns regarding the way Mid and East Antrim Planning Committee dealt with Islandmagee Primary School Planning Application.

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A Bit of Background

Here at Save Islandmagee Trees, we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making the world a better place for all.

A greenfield forest site has been identified for the development of the new Islandmagee Primary School.  This a long awaited welcome facility for the local area which will provide modern and well equipped facilities for our children.   It is currently undergoing consideration by Mid and East Antrim Council’s Planners and a decision is imminent in coming weeks.

Local residents are concerned that the site, which houses a thriving forest (part of which was felled by the Education Authority in 2017 with no planning permission nor local consultation) is due to lose the whole population of conifer and other deciduous trees. Only 29 trees will be retained and none of the conifer trees which were promised in the Consultation plans will be kept.  None of these 29 trees are part of the thick conifer and other tree blanket which can be seen below. This is very different to the Plan which was put out for Public Consultation back in September 2020, where a considerable section of conifer trees were to be retained.  Residents feel that promises from the project team were not kept and that our wish to keep at least as small part of this forest, for the future benefit of school children, residents and local wildlife was completely ignored.  

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Below, site prior to tree felling in March 2017

A Bit of Background

This a greenfield site of approx. 1.52 Ha comprising a thriving wild forest, of 20-25 year old spruce conifer trees and other deciduous trees such as oak, ash, beech and chestnut trees.

One morning in mid March (during the bird nesting season), tree contractors, acting on behalf of the Education Authority cleared almost half of the site with no prior warning, notice or consultation with local residents. Birds, hedgehogs, frogs, bees, lizzards...they suddenly lost their habitat and had to move onto the next bit of forest left. It looked really barren then....

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Below, site now.

The current situation

An area of approximately half of an acre of forest was lost in 2017, but soon started to be taken back by nature (flowers, bumble bees and other insects, birds, bats, mammals...).  Now the other half is under threat from full clearance as no conifer trees will be retained on the school site. 

Since the trees were cut, nature has again taken over and wild flowers, birds, insects and mammals again thrive in it. Like this little black bird serenading us at dusk....

Trees cut 2017 pic 2.jpg
Trees cut 2017 pic 1.jpg
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Why we need to act now

The Plans include the planting of 54 for deciduous trees, shrubs and wild flower areas, but in the short term, this will mean the absolute clearance of this site, including hundreds of trees, birds, bees, bats, hedge hogs and other mammals will have their habitat destroyed. 

Once trees and adjoining plants disappear, many of them will perish due to sudden habitat loss. 

Did you know…

  • That this is part of the only forested area in the whole of Islandmagee and is only 450 metres from Larne Lough Special Protection Area (SPA).  

  • Also nearby are the East Coast Marine SPA, Larne Lough, Cloughfin, Castletown and Gobbins ASSI (Areas of Special Scientific Interest).    These are registered protected areas due to their high environmental value[1].  Wildlife such as herons and pheasants use this forest or transit from one ASSI/SPA to another.

We need to protect trees, wildlife and their habitat because:

  • Northern Ireland is the least densely populated region in Europe in terms of woodland (which is below the UK average of 13%), with only 8.7% of its land mass[2].

  • Evergreen trees such as conifers provide not just protection to wildlife (birds in particular) in the cold winter months but also protection to properties from cold Northerly and Easterly winds.

  • Trees on site also act as “noise absorbers” (in particular ever green trees)

  • Trees prevent flooding as they absorb large amounts of rain water.

[1]Ecological Impact Assessment: Proposed Primary School Site beside Kilcairn, Ballystrudder, Islandmagee by WM Associates, 8/11/20.


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William James

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does"

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Birds video Kilcairn 14 03 21
Forest after tree cutting in March 2017
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Contact Save Islandmagee Trees

Low Road, Islandmagee

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