Fingal to agree to new Tree Policy

July 9, 2019 0

Green Party Councillor for Balbriggan Joe O’Brien was successful in getting a motion passed at Fingal County Council this week which commits the Council to starting a review of the county’s current tree strategy before the end of the year. Speaking after the motion was passed Cllr. O’Brien stated that:

Joe OBrien

Cllr Joe O’Brien

I’m very glad to say that at my first full Fingal County Council meeting last night my motion to review Fingal’s Tree strategy was agreed. The current strategy is almost nine years old and while it is a good document from a technical and operational point of view there is little evidence of voices of communities in it. At the time there was only 49 submissions to the process. I’m looking forward to a vibrant consultation process that helps to reflect the value that people place in trees and comes up with solutions to some of the issues. There also needs to be better communication between the Council and communities when it plans actions in relation to trees.

I will be pushing for extra resources for high value trees in town centres to be retained where possible and genuine consideration of all alternative options to felling mature trees. When we actually look at the multiple benefits of trees its quite staggering in terms of: visual amenity, local distinctiveness, softening of urban landscape, improve road safety, improved mental and physical well-being, improvement in air quality, reduction in storm water flows and flooding, noise abatement, carbon sequestration, provision of shade and shelter, shelter and food for wildlife and increased property values.

The assumption that there are increased insurance costs due to trip claims has proven to be a myth following a Freedom of Information request I submitted. This shows there was a decline in the number of overall claims and the amount awarded last year and no data indicating that these claims were related to trips due to trees.

The Balbriggan Rejuvenation plan aims to start developing a biodiversity model of excellence for the town in the first 12 months of the plan. More urban tress in Balbriggan should be a part of this in my view. Trees can really rejuvenate neglected urban spaces and we have some such spaces in Balbriggan that need urgent attention.