Narromine's Julie Davis protests against tree lopping

SAVE THE TREES: Julie Davis tied herself to a tree to prevent Essential Energy contractors from "mutilating" street trees in Narromine. Photo: CASSIE MILLER-COEN.

SAVE THE TREES: Julie Davis tied herself to a tree to prevent Essential Energy contractors from "mutilating" street trees in Narromine. Photo: CASSIE MILLER-COEN.

In an act of protest Narromine resident Julie Davis tied herself to a tree in an attempt to stop tree lopping. 

Last week contractors from Essential Energy were lopping trees along the corridor between Payten and Dundas Park when Mrs Davis tied herself to the tree they were about to cut.

“They were mutilating the trees,” Mrs Davis said. 

Mrs Davis has urged council to have an arborist professionally assess and manage the trees. 

“I rang council and I got onto Jane Redden and asked her if she could step in for me so I could get it stopped until it can be looked at.”

Narromine Shire General Manager Jane Redden agreed that processes of tree lopping needs to be reviewed. 

“Essential Energy need to work more closely with council and residents, so they are well informed with the program,” she said.

The company’s regional Manager Mark Summers said that by law they are obliged to ensure growing vegetation are kept clear of powerlines to maintain and protect public safety and power supply reliability.

"Prior to vegetation works, Essential Energy advised Narromine Shire Council in writing and in person, issued a media release to local media outlets, and notified affected residents,” Mr Summers said.

He recognised that residents in rural areas are aware of the need for ongoing vegetation management near the electricity network to minimise the significant risks caused by contact with powerlines.

Mr Summers said that the directional pruning techniques used, while may affect visual amenity, these techniques are considered best practice throughout the arboriculture industry to encourage re-growth away from the power network.

“Essential Energy’s contractors are qualified in all aspects of vegetation management and, where possible, undertake tree trimming in accordance with Australian Standard AS4373 (Pruning of Amenity Trees).”

“Occasionally, however, their practices can vary to accommodate the physical location of particular vegetation, or to comply with the Electrical Safety Rules and legislation such as the Electricity Supply Act 1995.”

While these policies are in place for lopping street trees, Mrs Davies is concerned that the severe “mutilation” of them needs to be assessed.

“They were cutting them and just leaving them top heavy. [They] move on and leave us with the mess,” Mrs Davies said.

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