McGuinness reiterates call for a Tree and Biodiversity Plan for Co. Waterford

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has written to the chair of Waterford Council’s strategic policy committee on Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Action requesting work commence on a  dedicated Tree and Biodiversity Plan. 

McGuinness said:

“Waterford Council has no single policy or plan when it comes to tree management or the protection and promotion of biodiversity. The Waterford Biodiversity Plan expired in 2013. As a local authority we have signed up to the National Pollinator Plan, but there is a long way to go in terms of streamlining the Council’s approach to trees and biodiversity. 

“We need to see a comprehensive plan put in place that identifies opportunities for planting trees on Council Property, that sets ambitious targets of planting trees in existing estates and new housing developments, that adopts a partnership approach with community groups and the private sector to radically increase tree planting, that prioritised native and broad-leaf tree species, and that clarifies the the Council’s policies regarding tree cutting and maintenance.”

“The plan also needs to be ambitious in identifying pollinator areas for bees and other insects, in maintaining habitats for birds and other wildlife, in raising awareness of our flora and fauna, and in curbing the use of dangerous weedkillers and other chemicals. This must also include strict policy around the use of herbicides such as glyphosate by the Council. 

“Trees and hedgerows play a huge role in our environment and communities as carbon sinks, natural amenities and habitats for fauna. Trees, and particularly broad-leafed species, have become increasing important with regards to climate change. Similarly, protecting our fragile biodiversity, and especially bees and other pollinators, is vital for agriculture and food security. If we are serious about taking local action to address climate change we need to take radical steps to support tree planting and biodiversity, and implement strong policies to protect woodlands, wildlife, hedgerows and pollinators.”