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Stib must pay for 19 trees killed during tram track works
Brussels public transport system Stib must pay €160,000 for expenses related to 19 trees that were damaged along Avenue Delleur in Watermael-Boitsfort. The roots of the linden trees were destroyed, and the trees will not survive. They must all be felled.
The damage was inflicted during work to replace the tracks on tramline 8. Workers dug out the roots that had grown under the tram tracks clear back to the trees themselves.
“The tram tracks run close to a row of trees because in the past less attention was paid to the distance between trees and tracks,” Cindy Arents of Stib told La Dernière Heure last month. “The roots of the trees had spread under the road surface, which made the work very complex.”
Stib “sentenced these trees to death,” said Ivan Hubert of Inter-Environnement Bruxelles, an umbrella organisation of neighbourhood groups. “When will trees be seen as community heritage that must be protected rather than merely decoration?”
The region’s mobility ministry understands that it is down to “human error” but is asking Stib to pay back expenses related to dealing with the situation, including nearly €3,200 for the investigation into whether the trees could be saved, nearly €39,000 to cut them down and €120,000 for the destruction of public property. Stib has agreed to cover the costs.
Stib has also taken precautions to make sure no further damage is caused to other trees on the thoroughfare, which is part of the R22 that runs through the middle of Watermael-Boitsfort. “A tarp has been placed along the row of trees and the earth around the roots has been dug out so that it is clear where they run,” Stib spokesperson An Van Hamme told Bruzz this week. “A wall will also be placed so that the roots cannot grow under the new tram tracks.”
The works are expected to be finished by 19 December, at which point the number 8 tram can ride between Boitsfort Station and Wiener once again. A shuttle bus is currently available to bridge the gap in the tram route.
Photo ©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA