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Don't give disease a lift

VISITORS TO Northern Ireland's forests have been asked to pay more heed to biosecurity and help reduce the risk of accidentally spreading tree and plant diseases.

Michelle O'Neill, pictured with NIMBA's Rick McKee and David Creighton
Michelle O'Neill, pictured with NIMBA's Rick McKee and David Creighton

Minister for Agriculture Michelle O'Neill, who recently met with representatives of the NI Mountain Bike Alliance, stated: "Our trees and plants are under an increasing threat from new pests and diseases and I would urge all visitors to forests, including mountain bikers, of the need for good biosecurity practice. Simple measures such as cleaning off mud and debris from footwear and tyres, reduces the risk of giving diseases a lift to other sites."

NIMBA chairman Rick McKee said the Alliance fully supported the Department's work in developing partnership arrangements to facilitate mountain bike trails in forests in the north of Ireland. He said: "I welcome the significant progress made to date and the impending opening of many kilometres of new world class trails. Mountain bikers understand the importance of looking after the health of our forests and we will continue to promote and increase awareness of the importance of good biosecurity practice.''

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