Rostrevor is a beautiful village in County Down at the foot of Slievemartin where one of Ireland’s few remaining ancient woodland still flourishes on the slopes above Carlingford Lough.
In summer 2016, a group of people in the local area formed Rostrevor Action Respecting our Environment (RARE), in an attempt to protect the woodland from proposed inner-city style development. Our group has focused its actions on highlighting anomalies within the planning application related to the proposed development (in particular trees and sections of oakwood which were ‘disappeared’ from maps and tree surveys) and challenging deeply problematic planning decisions. Following a RARE campaign, one of the missing oaks ‘The Invisible Tree’ won the Woodland Trust Tree of the Year Award in 2019.
RARE now works with other campaigners and environmental groups to continue to highlight and document patterns of poor practice in planning decisions across Northern Ireland. Many of these campaigns are linked together with our film and song ‘The Old Oakwood Turns Green Again’ which we performed at the launch of EJNI in June 2019.
We have also produced the poem ‘Rhyme for Justice?’ highlighting our journey and our continuing pursuit of environmental justice in Rostrevor and beyond.
“Our story’s one of many, where eyes are turned away
Injustice kneeling on the throat of nature every day…”
More information on RARE’s work is available here.