t was young Keith Scanlon who first brought it to our attention that there had been ‘a huge amount of excessive tree felling’ around here in recent months.
To prove the point, the Delgany eco activist included some pics, including a recent example at Temple Carrig School’s outdoor amphitheatre.
Principal Alan Cox explained that it was with great sadness that they had to sanction the removal of said trees, having received a report that many were dead or diseased, and in danger of falling. Right where kids gather to use the amphitheatre. New trees are being planted.
Getting in touch with Greystones’ town engineer Ruairi O’Hanlon – who had just received complaints about a tree being cut down at the Éire Óg grounds (felled by the ESB as it was growing under power lines) – he reckons that some people are just now getting into spring cleaning mode and can forget the importance of not cutting down or trimming trees at this time of year.
In an effort to remind such people, and to have some accountability involved, Cllr Mary Kavanagh has put forward the following motion…
That no healthy tree within a townscape, streetscape or public realm area be removed without at least two weeks prior notice to Councillors stating the reason for removal. Damaged or diseased trees or those that pose an immediate safety risk to be exempt from said notice period. That a register of trees be kept by each Municipal District with trees for inclusion to be agreed by Municipal District Cllrs and staff. That the motion, if passed, be forwarded to the Climate Change & Biodiversity SPC for inclusion in the upcoming Tree Strategy.
The motion is supported by fellow Independent councillors Peir Leonard, Mags Crean, Joe Behan, Tom Fortune and Rory O’Connor.
“The reason I tabled the motion,” explains Mary, “is because I’m concerned about the lack of protection afforded to our ‘urban trees’. These are the trees that we see in our townscapes and public realm areas. There is nothing in law to protect them from destruction.
“We all know that trees grow old, can become diseased or storm damaged and can sometimes pose a threat to public safety – such as roots growing above ground, breaking footpaths, etc. These aren’t the trees I’m concerned about, more the ones that we associate with places where we like to walk and trees that are beloved by the public. We all know the health benefits of trees, not to mention the fact that they offer habitats of all sorts to birds and insects, feed our pollinators and purify our air.”
Having consulted with Wicklow County Council officials and others over the past few months, Cllr Kavanagh wants safeguards in place to ensure that no tree could be cut down without giving councillors time to ascertain the reason why, or propose alternative courses of action.
“I also wrote to the Climate Action & Biodiversity SPC,” finishes Mary, “to request that policies in my motion be included in the upcoming Tree Strategy that they’re currently working on.”
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