CONCERN for local biodiversity that may have been damaged by a recent felling of 15 mature trees in Mallow Town Park in May was raised by Green Party Councillor Liam Quaide on Monday.
Mr Quaide said the actions of the local authority deserved to be scrutinised due to the significant cost to the taxpayer and also the impact on biodiversity.
“At least fifteen mature trees were felled at Mallow Town Park in May at the height of the COVID-19 restrictions and in the middle of nesting season,” Mr Quaide outlined.
“I’ve looked into these works further and the justification for their removal was a sweeping statement about a row of trees from an overall planning report that was dated April 2019. There was no structural assessment of each tree, as there should have been, to justify such drastic action.” The Green Party Councillor said that following a social media post on the issue, the Council released a statement in response saying a conservationist had overseen the works.
Mr Quaide said: “I’ve seen no such report as of yet. Under EU directives on habitats, the trees should have been assessed for nesting birds and chicks and eggs before being removed.” The cost of the works has not yet been disclosed to the Green Party councillor and Mr Quaide said he also wanted to know how the timber was disposed of.
“The Council have also indicated that at least some of the timber was disposed of by the contractor. I understand that such timber can be quite valuable when sold for firewood. I’ve asked the Council for more precise information on the volume of timber that was cleared from the site by the contractor and whether this timber was valued and whether it was sold.” Mr Quaide’s colleague, Green Party Councillor Alan O’Connor put forward a motion seeking information on trees felled and planted by the Council, however, the Environment Directorate said they had no role in the felling of trees.
“The regulation and licencing of tree felling generally is a matter for the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM).” The motion response also stated where municipal services engage in tree felling the records are held locally, within that department.
A tree policy is being put together by the Environment, Climate Action and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) the year and the Environment department said the recording of tree felling activity would be included in the discussions.