COUNCILLORS have called on the County Council to enforce existing legislation to make landowners cut and trim overhanging trees that lead onto public roads.
At a meeting of Cork County Council this week, councillors discussed a recommendation from members of the Ballincollig/ Carrigaline Municipal District who called for the Council to develop a policy concerning the safety of trees along public roads in each municipal district.
Cllr Derry Canty (FG) said the Council has written to landowners about their responsibilities to cut overgrown trees but people weren’t coming back to them on it.
‘Bus Eireann and haulage companies are experiencing huge problems, their windscreens and mirrors are being broken and the sides of the vehicles scraped. We are asking for something positive to be done and we, as Cork County Council, have to come up with a policy.’ said Cllr Canty.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) said this issue has been raised on several occasions but that the Council doesn’t have a ‘robust enough policy’ on it.
‘Obviously it’s the responsibility of landowners as most trees are on private land. We need to step up to the mark,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Cllr Michael Collins (Ind) said he had proposed such motions before, at Municipal District level.
‘We have trees falling down and then bus drivers as well as truck drivers are losing mirrors. Something needs to be done and a report should be carried out,’ said Cllr Collins.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said legislation is in place already but that enforcement is the real problem. Cllr Hayes also pointed out that in some cases the Council could go in and cut down dangerous trees and then charge the landowner for completing the job.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) also said enforcement is the real problem and wondered how many landowners have prosecuted or charged over this.
Cllr Noel O’Donovan said that residents in his area have even resorted to cutting the trees themselves. He asked if someone could be put in charge of this policy and if the Council could do something better ‘in house’.
Cllr Deirdre Forde (FG) said this needs to be enforced at local level and she criticised the planning department.
‘They have to take some of the responsibility as they have allowed certain species of trees to be planted which were not suited to here,’ said Cllr Forde.
Cllr Kevin Conway (Ind) said the Council’s enforcement procedure takes too long and that there was no progress on the issue.
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe (FF) called for one final document to cover all roadways and said the issue had ‘become a joke’.
‘We should take hold of this issue and put it to bed and we should all be singing from the same hymn sheet,’ said Cllr O’Keeffe.
Chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said that landowners know their responsibilities but that follow-ups take time. He also said that the issue should be addressed further by the Transport Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).
‘We will do what we can with existing resources,’ said Mr Lucey.