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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Branching into overseas trees for roadside safety

Branching into overseas trees for roadside safety

Authorities will study overseas examples and define what types of trees are suitable to be planted on roadsides as part of 10 tree management improvements the Development Bureau is working on, says the Secretary for Development, Bernadette Linn Hon-ho.
She wrote in an online blog that consultants are now studying overseas examples and experiences to draft suitability and sustainability rules for roadside tree planting.

"We hope to have suitable improvement measures and follow-up schemes to ensure roadside trees have enough room for growth in the long run as our city develops," she said.

The blog, published yesterday on the Development Bureau's website, listed nine other improvement measures on roadside tree planting and conservation the bureau has been working on recently.

To ensure enough underground space for root growth, setting up minimum soil volume and depth will be drafted later this year. Current requirements, which were released in 2012 by the bureau, ask for an area of at least two meters wide and without underground pipes.

"Leaving enough space ensures the healthy growth of roots, which in turn improve trees' capabilities to bear strong winds," said landscape architect Vanessa Siy Yik-lam.

Carrying out systematic risk assessment with the help of advanced technologies is also one of the bureau's focuses. "Apart from common examination practices, advanced assessments using drill resistance and acoustic tomography will be carried out to inspect the inside of trees when needed," Linn wrote. "We are also testing out detection of root areas with sonar equipment."

Regular examination on trees by roads with high traffic will also be gradually expanded to cover trees by rural roads and in unused land, she added. In the past 10 years, about five million trees and more than 62 million shrubs, bushes and other plants had been planted by the government.

The note also revealed that 200,000 trees by pedestrian roads had been equipped with QR code tags to provide citizens with basic information and an easier way to report any detected problems.

Planting more home-grown plant species to increase biodiversity, improve the capabilities of tree management staff and a improve the management of trees on private land were among other measures listed by Linn.

Roadside trees planted in the city not only provide shade and enjoyable views to citizens, but can also function as buffer areas between vehicle lanes and pedestrian streets.

Absorbing exhaust gas from cars is also a crucial benefit.
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