2 April 2019
By Bryan Smyth
The Green Party in Cork has called on Cork City Council to set in place a trees policy for the city. The call comes at the start of National Trees Week and amid concern by communities across the city about the loss of trees in Cork.
A trees policy has already been adopted by Dublin City Council and covers areas such as the preservation of landscape and ecology, replacing trees that need to be removed, and the controversial “topping” of trees.
The party says it has been contacted in recent months by residents and voluntary groups in all areas of the city who are shocked at the removal and aggressive cutting back of trees in both public areas and private lands designated as landscape preservation zones by the city.
Oliver Moran, the party’s candidate in the Cork City North East ward, said something has to happen to preserve the city’s landscape:
“Trees are vitally important to our city. They reduce pollution and help tackle climate change by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. They reduce flooding by slowing down and soaking up storm water. And they’re good for us. They improve mental health in people and provide habitats for wildlife.”
“Making sure our city maintains and grows a good covering of trees is something the city council should prioritise as common sense. Instead, there’s a sense of helplessness among residents when they come out one day to hear the sound of chainsaws. In one area, two acres of urban woodland zoned for landscape preservation has been bulldozed. The city council don’t appear to have an answer for this.”
“There’s a fear that these private areas will be re-designated as development land after the landscape and habitats have been removed. The city council has to send a strong signal to private developers that that’s not going to happen.”
“But even in public areas, across the city – from Skehard Road to South Mall to Ballyhooly Road – there seems to be simply a war on trees. Trees are not seen as having a place in the city when it comes to planning. Even at the most basic level, there’s no policy to replace trees that have to be removed for works or safety with the replanting of similar trees nearby. And residents are being left in the dark about why trees are being cut, leaving it to rumour as to the reasons why.”