Residents in Limerick city could be banned from planting Leylandii trees, if new regulations are introduced.
At a meeting of the City Council’s environment committee, director of service Caroline Curley said she would be “very interested” to see proposed legislation outlawing the growth of these trees.
The huge bushes have been the cause of neighbour disputes in some parts of Ireland, and across in Britain, such fights have ended up in court.
Fianna Fail’s city east councillor Kieran O’Hanlon called for legislation to be introduced here by way of a council by-law to ban the planting of Leylandii trees.
In his own area of Rhebogue, he has already dealt with a number of complaints from residents who are affected by neighbouring trees.
“They don’t shed leaves. They are like palm trees. What happens is you get them as a very small plant. People do not realise that they grow a few feet every year,” he said.
Cllr O’Hanlon argued that when the roots start coming up, they do damage to adjoining walls.
“There are quite a number across the city. I know in Rhebogue, two residents had to get onto me because they are growing into houses next door. Roofs can start coming up, as a result of them,” he said.
Even more dangerously, Leylandii trees can connect with pylons, causing electric shock to people at the foot of the plant, he added.
As well as a ban on them, Cllr O’Hanlon wants residents educated on the problems that can be caused.
“I know there was discussion at government level about banning them.
Some homeowners plant them because they provide shelter. But they do damage to pylons,” he said.
Ms Curley said she was not aware of any legislation, but she would be interested in studying the matter further.
“Leylandii trees are quite a scourge. I am not aware of any ban. But I would be very interested to see how they could be banned,” she told councillors.
However, other members of the committee were more supportive of increasing the tree count.
Labour’s southside councillor Orla McLoughlin said: “I do not see any reason we shouldn’t commit to increase the number of trees.
“They add to the aesthetic effect of the city. The bigger the better as far as I am concerned.”
Meanwhile, Catherine O’Farrell called for a programme to be put in place with schools on green issues, with flyers going into local newspapers like this very publication.