The removal of up to 150 trees from the Navan Road in Dublin as part of the National Transport Authority's (NTA) BusConnects project will damage quality of life and climate change goals, a local residents' group has claimed.
The Navan Road Community Council (NRCC) has tied yellow ribbons around trees lining the road, which forms the spine of the NTA's core bus corridor from Blanchardstown to the city centre.
Similar yellow ribbon campaigns were undertaken on St Mobhi Road in Glasnevin and in the Ballsbridge area. The NTA subsequently reduced the number of trees it planned to fell on these roads.
The Navan Road group said despite attending two public consultation meetings on the bus corridor and having three meetings with NTA representatives since 2019, it has been unable to secure adequate information on the tree removal and replanting programme.
“We want to know which trees are going, one by one, and what the plan is for their replacement,” NRCC spokeswoman Pat Allison said. “We don’t want saplings and twigs, at the very least we want semi-mature Irish trees, and we want to know that is what the NTA intends to provide.”
The size and species of the proposed trees was important, she said, because of their roll in mitigating the effects of traffic on the Navan Road, which is an exit route from the M50, and one of the main arterial routes to the city from west Dublin and the northwest of the country using the M3.
“These trees are a major component of the quality of life of our area and community and they also contribute positively to the reduction of climate change impacts through the absorption of carbon monoxide,” she said.“Great initiatives have happened since the start of the pandemic: new cycle lanes, space to eat outdoors, restrictions on where the car can move.”
The authority should employ similar creativity to achieve its goals “without removing our avenue of trees leading to our city”, she said.
Many residents had been disenfranchised by consultation moving online over the last 16 months, Ms Allison said, adding that the project should be deferred until full public consultation could resume.
An NTA spokeswoman said the number of trees likely to be felled on this section of the route “may be up to approximately 140”.
It intended to plant “an equivalent number of semi-mature trees along the corridor to offset the impact,” she said. “Overall the route, once upgraded, will benefit from both an improved walking, cycling, and public transport infrastructure, and an enhanced urban realm treatment.”
Applications for the 16 bus corridors are due to be lodged with An Bord Pleanála later this year.