170 trees and saplings in Orangefield Park cut down in error…

From the BBC:

An east Belfast woodland was cut down by accident in part due to ineffective communication, Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE) has said.

A local councillor told BBC News NI around 170 trees and saplings in Orangefield Park were cut down in error.

The instructions given to NIE said the trees should only have been trimmed.

NIE has said it will restore the woodland and will introduce new procedures.

On Thursday, councillors at Belfast City Council will be asked to approve NIE’s offer to replant the area.

Overhead power lines are owned and managed by NIE Networks who have a responsibility to cut back any trees that grow around the lines.

Power lines run through the woodland in Orangefield Park and in April 2023 NIE had asked the council for permission to cut back the trees.

The council granted a license for the work with specific instructions to “lop the trees, as opposed to felling them” and stated that the work should be completed outside the bird nesting season.

In May, a NIE contractor began to clear the area, but work was suspended when residents complained about “excessive tree cutting”.

NIE said that the work carried out in May was “technically competent” but acknowledge that the tree cutting works “deviated significantly from those agreed with Belfast City Council as detailed in the published work instruction.”

It added that “changes to cut‐type and the disposal of arisings were made without rigour and on an ad‐hoc basis”

In a statement, NIE said: “We know that the issue arose due to the effectiveness of the communication between the contractor and NIE Networks.”

Belfast City Council’s climate and city resilience committee will meet to discuss NIE’s response to the incident on Thursday evening.

NIE have asked the council for permission to finish the work it had started in clearing the area and to begin restoring the woodland.

An area of around 1,400 square metres was cleared and NIE have offered to plant 400 new trees in the space with around 60% of these being hazel trees.

New procedures will also be put in place for contractors managing trees on council sites.

Feck me, does anything in this place work anymore?

In Northern Ireland, we literally can’t see the wood from the trees.


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