Dáil Éireann - Volume 440 - 22 March, 1994
Written Answers. - Roadside Trimming Work.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
172. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for the Environment if, in relation to hedge cutting and tree cutting along roads in North County Dublin he will identify some of the practical conservation projects, if any, he plans to compensate for these activities; the directives, if any, he has issued to Fingal  County Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Environment (Mr. M. Smith) Michael Smith
Minister for the Environment (Mr. M. Smith): Section 70 of the Roads Act, 1993, places an obligation on landowners or occupiers of property adjoining a public road to take all reasonable steps to ensure that trees, hedges, shrubs etc. do not constitute a hazard or potential hazard to road users. Where such a hazard or potential hazard exists, the local authority may serve a notice on the landowner or occupier requiring him or her to take appropriate remedial action. Failure to comply with a notice is an offence.
Local authorities themselves also engage in roadside trimming operations as part of their road maintenance work. They have been reminded, in guidance notes on the Roads Act, 1993 and in the annual roads grants memorandum issued by my Department, that while the safety of road users should be of paramount importance in the exercise of their powers and duties, they should also be aware of their responsibility in relation to the environment and the preservation of amenities when carrying out such works. The 1994 memorandum which will issue shortly will again bring this matter to the attention of local authorities and will, in particular, advise them that roadside trimming should be carried out during the winter months when there is least risk to the ecological environment. Authorities will also be advised that periods coinciding with net building, rearing of young, etc., should be avoided and that the timing of trimming work and the manner of its execution should seek to minimise possible damage to plants and wild flowers in hedgerows.
In a separate but related initiative, I recently published “Tree Preservation — Guidelines for Planning Authorities”. These guidelines which update and revise previous guidelines issued in 1986 explain, in some detail, the provisions of the planning code which deal with the preservation of trees. Local authorities have been encouraged to review the need for tree preservation within their areas  and, wherever appropriate, to use the powers available to them to protect and enhance the amenity value of trees within their area.
Dáil Éireann 440 Written Answers. Roadside Trimming Work.