Timber! Axing of 100 trees near busy Limerick road not a popular decision

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

The decision to recently chop down 100 poplar trees on the Condell Road was not a popular one Picture: Michael Cowhey

The decision to recently chop down 100 poplar trees on the Condell Road was not a popular one Picture: Michael Cowhey

NOT a single tree in city is legally protected under the tree preservation order, the Limerick Leader has learned. 

This comes as Limerick City and County Council made the decision to recently chop down 100 poplar trees on the Condell Road—a move proven to be quite unpoplar among local wildlife lovers.

This is because the trees were a major natural feature of the Condell Road, adjoining the Westfield Wetlands.

One disconcerted local said: “The trees would be part of the vista and they are destroying that. The trees afforded a degree of privacy to the houses that would face out onto the Condell Road otherwise.

“The third thing is that when the Condell Road was built, everybody was assured that because it was going through a wildlife sanctuary, that noise would be minimised for that wildlife sanctuary. And by removing the trees, you are actually exposing the wildlife to additional traffic noise.”

A spokesperson for the council said that the trees were “removed due to health and safety concerns as the trees were over 20 metres in height, were located only a few metres from the heavily trafficked road, are prone to snapping branches and in consideration of the increased frequency of storms in the recent past”.

The local was left stumped by the council’s reason for cutting the trees.

“You don’t have to cut down the whole tree,” he argued. 

However, the spokesperson has confirmed that they have commenced a replanting programme of Mountain Ash “that are more suitable for this location and are a suitable species from a  biodiversity viewpoint. This programme of planting should be completed this week”. 

At present, there are only two tree preservation orders in Limerick. One is in Doon, while the other is Tullig Wood in Templeglantine, which is a group of trees, rather than an individual protected tree.

Meanwhile, a Twitter account is calling for the protection of two mature trees at the small park at the corner of Sexton Street and Parnell Street, which is being sold by the council for development purposes.

The account, which goes by the Twitter handle @treesurvey2018, states on its profile: “I'm the park on the corner of Parnell/Sexton St, Limerick. I'm being sold for dev[development]! SAVE my trees & biodiversity!”

A spokesperson for the council told the Leader that the site “was identified as a potential suitable site given its key city-centre location close to services and public transport. The site was placed on the market in December 2017.”

There is no price tag on the property as it is accepting expressions of interest.

“As you can appreciate it would not be appropriate at this time to release commercially sensitive information that may affect the best and final bids process. Should the site disposal not materialise, the existing use shall remain in the short term subject to further analysis of use,” the council stated. 

In response to the Department of Housing’s Rebuilding Ireland programme, Limerick City and County Council has assessed land assets in its ownership which are suitably zoned to bring forward for residential use.