herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Thousands of city trees facing axe as injury claims rise

COST: Roots outgrow street space

thousands of Dublin's trees are to be dug up because they are tripping pedestrians.

Fingal County Council says it has been forced to act amid mounting personal injury claims and is set to replace up to 10pc of its 34,000 street trees.

"The majority of the street trees in Fingal were not planted by the council but by the developers of new housing estates over the past 30 to 40 years, and our extensive tree survey has identified that up to 10pc of our tree stock will need to be replaced over time.

"In many cases unsuitable species like Norway maple were planted as they grew quickly and were reliable.

"Many of these trees have now outgrown their root space and have less than 10pc of the space that should be available to trees of that kind."

These trees can cause a trip hazard, she said.

The spokeswoman said rising footpaths caused serious problems for people with limited mobility and the elderly.

She said that personal injury claims as a result of trips caused by trees lifting footpath had cost the council "a lot of money".

"Once a tree has outgrown its available space, there is little that can be done to accommodate the tree and it has to be removed."



Estates

The council has a rolling replacement programme for poorly located street trees over a 20-year period.

She said that work was prioritised based on complaints received and the most serious problem areas.

Replacement street trees are planted for each tree that is removed. The council has a tree strategy in place which is based on international best practice.

The strategy is a clear set of guidelines on suitable species that can be planted based on the available space for the tree to grow.



spaces

"For the 200 trees that have been removed in the Balbriggan/Swords area in the past year or so, 500 new trees will be planted," she said.

"Newly planted trees are actively managed to ensure current problems don't happen again.

"This means there will be a range of species of different ages planted in estates to make sure that if a particular type of tree has to be removed for whatever reason, the whole estate will not lose its street trees," she added. The cost of replacing trees is being borne fully by Fingal County Council.

fdillon@herald.ie

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