The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (June 3) made the following response to address the misunderstanding by some people about the department's streamlined application procedures for tree removal:
The department adheres to its principle in tree preservation and protection of public safety. A tree will only be removed when there is no practicable way to tackle its risk posed to the public. The department will make public safety its prime consideration when managing trees.
There are standard procedures on tree removal. The decision of removing a tree is made by the managerial grade officers, not the frontline officers.
When a tree is found with imminent risk of collapse and there is no practicable way to improve its condition, frontline officers will report the case to the district manager. After gaining approval from the manager, arrangements will be made to remove the tree immediately.
When frontline officers find a tree with potential danger of collapse and there is not other way to lower the risk, they need to get approval for its removal from the district manager and the head of the regional tree team. The tree will be removed only when the head of the regional tree team, who has rich experience in tree preservation, confirms that the tree has risk of collapse and there is no other way to lower its risk posed to the public. After the removal, the department will try to replant a suitable tree as far as possible.
Previously, if district officers needed to fell a tree with potential danger of collapse, they had to file an application to the Tree Preservation Board for consideration at its regular meetings. The Board is chaired by a Chief Leisure Manager and comprised of the heads of regional tree teams.
In view of recent comments that the department should speed up the handling of potentially dangerous trees to safeguard public safety, the department considered it necessary to simplify the procedures before the typhoon and rainy season. Officers no longer need to apply to the Tree Preservation Board. The decision of removing a tree will be made by the regional tree team managers, who have rich experience and professional knowledge in tree management.
The LCSD will strike a balance between public safety and tree preservation. It will continue to review and improve its arrangements in tree management.
Ends/Wednesday, June 3, 2009