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Ixelles apologises for 'human error' after eight cherry trees felled

09:34 29/03/2021

Ixelles has apologised after a municipal worker wrongly chopped down eight perfectly healthy cherry trees in full bloom on a street near the ULB.

Residents, all home during the day due to the pandemic, rushed out to stop the massacre. The workers claimed the trees were dead, despite being in full bloom, then that the trees were sick and finally that the municipality had received complaints that the trees’ branches were damaging passing trucks with scratches.

Locals contacted Ixelles town hall and reached the appropriate alderman who put a stop to the operation. Eight trees were felled, while about 30 others were saved in time.

Samuel Deroover, director of public space management, admits “human error”, adding: “The foreman of green spaces forgot to warn his superiors, he followed his schedule thinking he was doing the right thing. He took this initiative to solve a structural problem.

“Obviously, this municipal employee wanted to rectify a ‘bad’ choice taken in the past. Thirty years ago, Japanese cherry trees were planted in this street. The foreman noticed that they were not adapted to the dimensions of the road. They have rather large crowns.

“Given the passage of trucks and the proximity to facades, these trees are not suitable. For the sake of maintenance, he wanted to replace them with a species of tree with a more slender silhouette.

“Up until now, each operational service manages its activities independently. The technical services carry out hundreds of interventions per year in the public space independently.”

Following this incident, however, the methodology will change. "It will have to be discussed and validated by the council in consultation with the residents. The foreman will no longer be able to carry out his list of work without the council's consent."

Still to be solved is the fact that the eight trees that were cut down have been replaced by a different species of tree - which is not to the liking of the street’s residents.

Written by Richard Harris

Comments

WK

Doesn't the same happen in Abbaye de la Cambre where these days many old trees are massacred? In Zonienforest all the time trees are cut and sold to China. There is still the old mantra around that trees are a superfluous luxury which can be eliminated because of a few scratches on lorries. Quite unbelievable and unacceptable in times of climate change where amongst the best protection are trees.

Mar 30, 2021 09:48
WK

In fact, Abbaye de la Cambre is a different case. I learnt that the sick trees will all be replaced by new ones.

Apr 1, 2021 14:24