Overhanging branches on roadside trees has led to haulage companies, nursing the costs of damages, threatening not to deliver to certain areas in Co Cork.
And Bus Éireann has already stopped using double-decker vehicles on some routes due to damage caused by trees.
County councillors yesterday demanded a “get tough policy” with landowners who do not comply with their obligations to control overhanging branches on public roads.
Some vehicles, it was claimed, are forced to take evasive action by having to drive over the centre line to avoid damage but risk causing serious accidents.
The full council was discussing a recommendation from members of the Ballincollig/Carrigaline municipal authority who called for a safety policy concerning the maintenance of trees along public roads in each municipal district.
Councillor Derry Canty (FG) said while a lot of landowners did cut overhanging tress, many others did not. He said that Bus Éireann had stopped using a double-decker bus bet-ween Ballincollig and Ballinora/Waterfall as windows had been smashed by branches.
“Truckers are having their wing mirrors and side canvass torn off. They are now threatening not to deliver to businesses in some areas if this continues,” claimed Mr Canty.
He said the council has written to landowners warning them of their obligations, but some ignored the correspondence and something had to be done about the matter.
Seamus McGrath (FF) said the council “did not have a robust-enough policy on the issue” and that the local authority needed to step up to the mark.
Michael Collins (Ind) said a lot of rotten trees had fallen in recent storms but wing mirrors on trucks cost €800-plus to repair.
Deirdre Forde (FG) said the council’s planning department had to take responsibility to stop the planting of certain species of trees not suitable for urban areas.
Kevin Conway (Ind) said the council’s enforcement procedure took too long, while Kevin O’Keeffe (FF) said the issue was “becoming a joke at this stage”.
Ger Keohane (Ind) said overgrown tress were hampering street lighting and creating dangers for pedestrians.
Paul Hayes (SF) noted that legislation was in place whereby the council could cut down dangerous trees and recoup the cost from the landowner.
Kevin Murphy (FG) said he wanted a report on how many landowners had been written to; how many were charged for work and how many were prosecuted.
Noel O’Donovan (FG) asked council chief executive Tim Lucey to transfer staff to a specific project on tree safety.
Mr Lucey replied: “Landowners know their responsibilities and we chase them, but clearly follow-ups take time. We do what we can with existing resources.”
He agreed with Mr McGrath that the matter should be discussed further by the Transport SPC.
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