Residents outraged by tree pruning

MAINTAINING the city’s powerlines to prevent outages while retaining the aesthetics of trees in our streets is a balancing act, according to Orange councillor Neil Jones.

However, Orange resident Shane Butchers was outraged after arriving at his home at the eastern end of Byng Street to find tree pruning had been carried out by a contractor for Essential Energy.

“They’ve absolutely hacked into the tree and cut the guts out of it, the street looks terrible,” he said.

“Then they’ve left branches and a mess all over my driveway so I couldn’t get in.”

Mr Butchers said he had phoned the energy provider to lodge a complaint.

However, Cr Jones said the potential for swinging branches to cause electrical outages and inconvenience  created a challenging issue.

“We really are between a rock and a hard place,” he said.

Cr Jones says residents voice their concerns every time energy providers embark on a tree maintenance program.

“The solution of course is to bundle powerlines and put then underground, and I think that is happening as much as possible,” he said.

However, Mr Butchers lamented the loss of the look of the trees in his street.

“It defeats the purpose of having them if you look out your window and see something that bears no resemblance to a tree,” he said.

Cr Jones said it was his understanding that pruning crews were instructed to follow strict guidelines when it came to cutting back trees around the city.

An Essential Energy spokesperson said contractors engaged by the energy provider used arboriculture techniques, recognised as the best for the control of vegetation under or near powerlines.

“The vegetation on Byng Street was growing close to powerlines and Essential Energy engaged vegetation contrators to trim the trees to meet mandatory clearance zones and trees are generally trimmed every 12 to 18 months,” the spokesperson said.

“Essential Energy recognises that maintaining the local aesthetics of an area is important, however, these considerations need to be balanced with the safety of the project.”

The spokesperson said the energy provider would remove all debris on completion of the trimming.

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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