Landowners are responsible for roadside trees.
A call has been made for Tipperary County Council to lead the way in bringing agencies together to ensure roadside trees are properly maintained in a bid to save lives before the next major storm arrives.
At their meeting in Nenagh this morning, members of Tipperary County Council proposed that all interested agencies, including the IFA and ICMSA, attend a meeting to put a plan in place.
The council agreed to proceed to organise a meeting to discuss the issue now rather than wait for the next storm event to take place.
In response to motions tabled by members concerning roadside trees, Director of Services Marcus O’Connor said there was absolutely no ambiguity as to who was responsible for the maintenance of roadside trees.
He told the members that landowners were responsible and the onus was on them to inspect and maintain their roadside trees hedgerows to ensure that they are in a safe condition.
Mr. O’Connor said if landowners required assistance in terms of traffic management and road closure while they were carrying out that work to make trees safe, they should approach the council.
The meeting was told that up to one hundred notices were issued to landowners last year outlining concern about trees on their property and “by and large” landowners acted on the notice.
Cllr. Andy Moloney, who called on the council to carry out a survey on all roadside trees and mark those in need of removal, said the general public believed the council should be cutting every tree.
“We need to set out who is responsible for the trees and the ditches” insisted Cllr. Moloney.
Cllr. Seamus Hanafin said problems not only arose in times of storms.There were problems all year round with trees causing difficulties for trucks and school buses and that should be addressed.
Cllr. Ger Darcy said it was important for the council to set up a meeting involving the ESB, farming organisations and other interested groups to put a plan in place.
“We should not be waiting for the next Ophelia, this has to be done now” said Cllr. Darcy.
Cllr. Martin Browne said the county council should set an example and enter into dialogue with the IFA, ESB and other groups. He suggested that the council be seen to start undertaking the work by moving into estates and making trees safe.
“Lives have been lost in storms, we need to take action now” said Cllr. Browne.
Cllr. David Dunne said it was important for the council not to be a talking shop.There were landowners out there doing a good job concerning tree safety and there were other landowners who did not have the means or the equipment to carry out the work.
“We want to see trees managed properly. We don’t want to see Armageddon with all trees gone” said Cllr. Dunne.
Cllr. Roger Kennedy said the council should take the lead in ensuring safety on the roads.