Concern over rise in anti-social behaviour at Carrick beauty spot

Woodburn Forest is a popular beauty spot.
Woodburn Forest is a popular beauty spot.
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A multi-agency meeting has taken place to tackle growing anti-social behaviour at Woodburn Forest in Carrick.

In attendance were representatives from NI Water, DAERA Forest Service, Inland Fisheries, PSNI, PCSP and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council officers.

A rise in complaints over illegal fishing, fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour, dog fouling, fires, illegal use of quads and scramblers was highlighted to officials by DUP representatives David Hilditch MLA and Cllr. Marc Collins.

Cllr. Collins said: “Recently, there have been lorry loads of tyres dumped on the Slievetrue Road and large quantities of fly-tipping on the New Line as well as smaller cases within the forest/dams.

“There have also been instances of illegal use of scramblers/quads as well as illegal fishing.”

The meeting considered how illegal and anti-social activities can be discouraged and how the beauty spot can be better maintained.

A spokesperson for NI Water said: “NI Water’s prime focus is on protecting the water catchment area. The security and safety of the public water supply and continuing to supply and deliver water to all our customers, remains our key priority.

“NI Water are content to play an active role with the other agencies in helping to eradicate the unwanted behaviour in the area.”

In 2017, barriers were erected at entrances to the forest at Paisley Road and Councillor’s Road by NI Water in response to vandalism, fly tipping and unauthorised vehicle access at the Woodburn Forest site.

A DAERA spokesperson said: “It was pleasing to note there was a consensus at the meeting on the benefits of working together and the importance of sharing knowledge and information to address issues in the Woodburn area. DAERA’s experience of partnership working has led to positive out-workings in many areas and we are keen to build on this multi-agency approach at Woodburn in moving forward.”

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has stated that it will continue to work with its partners to resolve issues including littering, illegal dumping, dog fouling and scrambler use in the Woodburn area.