Members of the Kilternan and north Wicklow community are flabbergasted as to why many mature trees were recently felled along the ‘The Scalp’ road.
According to locals, the trees were felled on Saturday, May 25.
Images and videos taken by local residents show that a large portion of trees located along the road were cut down.
“Where once was a tunnel of trees, now lies a line of stumps as far as the eye can see,” says local Aideen Keogh.
“This is by far the worst, most extensive damage that we have seen during nesting season this year,” says Maureen O’Sullivan of the Save Ireland’s Trees campaign.
“It’s an illegal offense, in blatant violation of Section 40 of the 1976 Wildlife Act that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she says.
According to Section 40 of the 1976 Wildlife Act, “it shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 15th day of April and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated or in course of cultivation for agriculture or forestry.”
The Scalp road runs from the district of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown into the jurisdiction of Wicklow County Council and it is yet unclear if the felling crosses boundary lines or is solely confined to the Wicklow area.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council says that according to a photo supplied of the felling, they believe the trees were located on the Wicklow side of the border and thus, would not fall under its jurisdiction.
However, Wicklow County Council says they have “no responsibility for this tree felling as the trees are on private property.“
Labour councillor for the Glencullen-Sandyford ward, Lettie McCarthy told Dublin Gazette, “I think these trees are in private property and doesn’t appear to have anything to do with Wicklow Co Council.
“When trees need to be removed, there should be a greater effort made to do so off season. Trees in leaf supply much needed food and shelter for birds, small animals and insects and it is sad to see them removed while in full leaf,” she says.
“This is just one of hundreds of examples of rampant tree destruction that have taken place across the length and breadth of the country during the past year to the point where it is becoming an issue of urgency that can no longer be ignored,” says O’Sullivan.
“It is a constant source of discussion and distress among the public on social media. Senators, TDs, MEPs, councillors and other political spokespersons have spoken out on the issue in recent months.
“The fact that the same damage continues, on an even higher scale, is cause for serious concern.”
By the time of publication, no local authority or landowner has taken responsibility for felling of the trees nor has a reason been given for their removal.