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The FAA Tree Group said in a statement this afternoon that it welcomes the launching of the long overdue “Course on Basic Tree Pruning” by the Malta Embellishment and Landscaping Project in collaboration with MEPA, however, the NGO said it “remains concerned by the fact that to this day unprofessional pruning and destruction of trees is still the norm, as shown by the recent second hacking of the trees on Great Siege Square, the destruction of the trees on the Msida promenade opposite the church and the intentional killing of three mature trees in Naxxar near the petrol station at Labour Avenue, to name a few.”
FAA Tree Group said that “the pruning course appears to address key issues raised by the FAA Tree Group and others in comments to the press and social media directed at the Governmental authorities and the Environment Landscape Consortium, Local Councils and developers responsible for damage or destruction of urban trees.”
“In view of poor standards of present tree management, why has a moratorium on pruning trees not been put in place untill trained and qualified personnel are available? The NGO asked.
FAA Tree Group went on to say that it “is also hoped that MEPA intends to make attendance at such a course a legal requirement and prerequisite to contracting for tree management tenders in both the public and private sectors.
“In view of developers’ and contractors’ disregard for trees found in development areas, it is hoped that the Malta Embellishment and Landscaping Project will be holding courses on measures to safeguard trees on building sites from damage during the construction phase, for people involved in the development sector, including architects.
“Cases in point are the uprooting of trees in ancient gardens in Balzan, the chain-sawing of a 150 year old protected olive at Villa Mekrec in Ghaxaq, and the still unexplained destruction of the ancient protected olive tree by the authorities ‘embellishing’ Mdina Ditch. Lack of care for trees was also seen in the the recent trenching works carried out at Senglea waterfront, where the trees that were saved from uprooting by collective efforts, are now weakened by flooding with seawater and the use of chainsaws to cut main roots to allow pipes to be laid.”
The FAA Tree Group concluded by saying, “on a positive note the FAA Tree Group hopes that this course marks a changing tide in the mentality and approach towards Malta’s rural and urban trees and that it will lead to the rescinding of the 2011 Tree and Woodland Protection Regulations that stripped urban trees of their protection.
“This effectively favours developers’ proposals to destroy the last of Malta’s ancient urban gardens which act as precious health-giving lungs in our polluted urban areas. Reverting back to the tree protection provided by the 2001 Regulations will ensure residents a better quality of life, since scientific research proves the health benefits of trees which reduce air and noise pollution, as well reducing urban heat and creating green jobs.”
Highlighting the fact that preserving tree biodiversity also promotes tourism, the FAA Tree Group urges the public to sign the eNGO petition to save trees: https://www.change.org/petitions/stop-killing-trees-in-malta.