Posted on: September 27,2014
In a latest judgment NSW Land and Environment Court has saved 9 old fig trees from the proposed removal by the Department of Education on grounds of safety. Many of these Fig trees which are located in Alstonville Public School in Sydney are more than 100 years old which made them culturally precious as well. The Department of Education which was citing the recent accidental death of a schoolgirl from a falling branch as the cause of raising safety concerns was opposed by an environment friendly group called Saved the Historic Trees. The group in their determined move to protect these historic fig trees collected 1400 signatures from people including former teachers of Alstonville Public School. The ensuing legal duel between Department of Education and Historic Trees involved varying reports from many top arborists.
While the education authority pleaded for the removal citing risks from the falling branches, the environment friendly Save the Historic Trees submitted reports from top arborists mentioning that the apprehension of such risks is actually groundless. The group has been engaged for more than 6 months to protect these old trees until they won their ground. In the Land and Environment Court judgment Justice Rachel Pepper dubbed the government plea for the removal as inconsistent. The president of the group Ian Cooke later mentioned that there was no need of legal action if the education department could consider the decision. From the environmental point of view the decision can put a check on the increasing amount of tree removal in educational institutions and other establishments.