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ACLMS assesses tree damage to ensure public safety following extreme weather

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Thursday 19 January 2023

Following the extreme weather on Sunday night, Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS) has been working to rapidly assess damage to trees on public land that they manage to reduce the risk to islanders.

In total, 19 trees have fallen, including eight large trees. ACLMS have organised for these trees to be cleared, in particular where they are obstructing pathways or where they present a significant risk to the public.

Where larger trees are lost, there is an opportunity to plant replacements for the future. ACLMS works closely with Guernsey Trees for Life (GTFL) to identify places on the land it manages, for new trees to be planted. In December last year, 50 trees were planted by GTFL using funding provided by a corporate sponsor.

Trees can be seen as liabilities when they cause damage, but this is offset by the many benefits that trees provide. These include softening the impact of development, providing screening, habitat, oxygen, shading, shelter and the removal of aerial pollutants.

Severe storms bring with them the risk of damage to both property and trees. Properties are designed and built to resist the forces of the wind. In contrast, trees respond dynamically to wind by growing in a way which maintains their stability. Factors such as fungal decay, restricted room for rooting and construction injury can contribute to trees being blown over. It is worth noting that out of a population of several tens of thousands of trees most storms only result in very small numbers of trees being blown over.

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