Local Social Democrat Councillor Paul Mulville says he has has worked with members of the Fingal Social Democrats branch to develop a submission to the ‘Forest of Fingal Tree Strategy’ public consultation.
The submission supports the core objectives of the draft strategy while calling for improved communication with the public around all aspects of tree works.
“We believe that it is better for people’s physical and mental health to have as much planting and extension of green spaces as possible in urban and suburban locations,” Cllr. Mulville said.
“Equally such an approach supports existing wildlife and biodiversity within Fingal.
“It is with these issues in mind that our local party felt it was essential to make a submission to the County Tree Strategy public consultation.
“A central pillar of our submission is to strongly support the proposals contained in the draft strategy for a County Tree Officer to be appointed and a dedicated ringfenced Tree Budget to be established by the county.
“Now more than ever, given the restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 emergency period people are discovering the importance of the natural environment in our local neighbourhoods.
“However, our existing parks and open spaces are under severe pressure.
“The Council must look to create native Woodland Walks and Wildflower Meadows in existing parks; as well as providing similar amenities in new parks, which are urgently required. We must support community tree-planting initiatives and ensure the planting of sustainable trees and flowers in both existing and new residential developments along urban and suburban streets.
“At the same time, Council management must improve their communication with communities and their local representatives. We need weekly updates to councillors and the public on tree works.
“This should list pruning, planting, protection, and leaf collection, in each local area”.
“There must be proper prior notice and engagement with local residents when long-standing trees are to be removed in an area. The Social Democrats start from the principle that removing healthy trees is the last resort and that all alternatives and efforts to resolve an issue must be explored, have a scientific evidence base and discussed with communities before a tree is removed.
“We have seen locally in the Donabate Portrane area examples of good practice, as well as instances where improvement is required.
“For example, there was understandable anger locally when two longstanding and much-loved trees on the New (Corballis/ Balcarrick) Road, that had been proudly standing in our area since we were children, and long before that, were felled without any warning last week.
“This incident was in sharp contrast to the recent excellent communication campaign around tree works in Newbridge Demesne.”