The Tree Council of Ireland has released a publication entitled, A Guide for Landowners to Managing Roadside Trees.
Minister of State with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett, launched the guide last week.
The document guides the landowner through the responsibilities associated with ownership and management of roadside trees.
Speaking at the launch, the minister, whose department is supporting the publication, stated:
“So many of our roadside trees in Ireland are beautiful. They add much to our countryside, our landscape and our natural heritage.”
“However, trees may become physically damaged during their lifetime due to the impact of a storm or a pest or disease attack.”
“Such occurrences have the potential to make roadside trees unsafe. Therefore, it is very important that to minimise any possible risk to people or property, landowners look after them properly and proactively.”
The minister encouraged all landowners to avail of their free copy and “study it carefully”.
Éanna Ní Lamhna, president of the Tree Council of Ireland, added:
“Our trees provide us all with a wide range of benefits, from health benefits both mental & physical to invaluable habitat for our wildlife and indeed even defining our landscape.”
The president said the guide would provide tree owners with a straightforward, easy to follow procedure to take care of and manage the natural resource appropriately.
Managing your roadside trees
A Guide for Landowners to Managing Roadside Trees sets out six clear steps, guiding the landowner through the responsibilities associated with ownership of roadside trees.
It sets outs advice on how to plan and carry out tree maintenance work. The guide highlights the importance of engaging professionals, health and safety, and record keeping.
We have summarised some key points flagged in the document:
Recognise the benefits of trees
- Make the countryside, towns and villages more attractive and pleasant places;
- Environmental benefits – capturing pollution, releasing oxygen, cooling and the air and providing shade and shelter;
- Store carbon;
- Reduce flooding;
Understand your responsibilities
The document states: “The trees on your land are your property, and as a landowner, you are responsible for their care. Ensure that you are aware of the full legal extent of your land ownership.”
The Roads Act 1993 requires owners or occupiers of land to take all reasonable steps to ensure that trees or other vegetation on their land are not a hazard to persons using a public road.
Furthermore, local authorities may issue notices to landowners requesting them to maintain or cut back trees or hedges.
If a tree fails (breaks or collapses) and causes injury or damage, the landowner will be held liable if negligent.
Check your trees
- Take a balanced and proportionate approach;
- Carry out risk assessments – in some circumstances, you can do this yourself. Employ a professional – forester or arborist – if you have a “significant number of large, important trees”.
- Look for defects – including dieback – leaning trees, splits, cracks, decay, cavities and fungi.
Prioritise the work
Undertake remedial work if you detect a risk from a defect;
Attend trees posing an immediate risk to public safety immediately;
Also, attend trees posing a less immediate risk to public safety within an appropriate timeframe – such as 12 months.
Carry out the work;
- Only carry out when there is a valid reason to do so;
- Consult with professional before pruning/felling large trees;
- Undertake tree work outside of the nesting season, unless urgent;
- You may need to notify your local authority;
- Beware of relevant Wildlife Acts.
- Keep records:
- The areas that were inspected, when and by whom;
- The trees that were deemed to require attention;
- The tree work that was carried out, when and by whom.