Northern Ireland

Bonfire material dumped on £40m Connswater project removed

Bonfire material being cleared in east Belfast
Image caption The bonfire material was cleared away from the greenway site on Wednesday

Bonfire material which had been dumped on a new multi-million-pound greenway in Belfast, has been removed.

Dozens of tyres and pallets had been left in the middle of the recently opened pathway at Connswater, east Belfast.

It forms part of the £40m Connswater Community Greenway project.

Earlier, Robert Osborne, Bloomfield Community Support Group, said those who had collected for the bonfire were "happy to step away".

He told the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster that he had been involved in talks with the collectors and that the plan was to hold a fun day and light a beacon on 11 July.

Workers from the Environment Agency cleared away the debris.

Mr Osborne said the decision had been made "in order to keep east Belfast progressing and flourishing".

Image caption Tyres and pallets had been stockpiled along a public path on the greenway

"The youths know they can always go to a different bonfire, you have got ones within a couple of metres of each other. It is near enough - a stone's throw away for most of them.

"I can't talk for every other bonfire, but because of what is going on in that park and the amount of money spent, our community is happy enough to step away from a bonfire.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Workers from the Environment Agency cleared away the debris
Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A number of tyres were removed

"A bonfire is like a family, heart and soul goes into it and whenever they realised that there was so much money put into making their community look better, they obviously saw the outcome was going to be better for future developments and what might come for them."

Traditionally, bonfires are lit in many loyalist areas of Northern Ireland on the "eleventh night" - the eve of the Twelfth of July.

They celebrate William of Orange's victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Image caption The bonfire material was cleared with local agreement

The greenway project includes a number of new bridges, cycle paths and walking routes.

It also features a new civic square with sculptures of characters from Narnia - in tribute to author CS Lewis who grew up in the area.

Earlier this month, about 500 people attended the official opening of a new greenway bridge, dedicated to Z Cars actor, James Ellis.

Image caption Complaints were lodged with Belfast City Council about the discarded pallets and tyres

The investment was aimed at improving the urban environment by creating open public spaces and cleaning up rubbish from neglected riverbanks.

For weeks, complaints were lodged with Belfast City Council about the discarded tyres and pallets.

It had replied that bonfire issues were "complex" and it was working with communities to address the matter.

Image copyright Connswater Community Greenway
Image caption The greenway features a new bridge dedicated to Z Cars actor James Ellis

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