Sunday, August 29, 2010

ISA HK/China --- HK Tree News (HK$200,000 fine for improper pruning of one tree)

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Dear Station Members,

The newspaper report below described how a construction company was fined for HK$200,000.00 (USD 1 = HK$7.8) for not following the Govt Instruction to conduct proper Tree Pruning in a hospital in HK.

HK has one of the heaviest fines in the world for Tree Damage. The values appear to be connected with the land price of where the trees are located, how much shaded area they cover, & the rarity of species. The exact calculating method is unknown, but ISA HK/China has seen most cases being administered carefully with due consideration & adequate warnings. It does not appear to be a random decision.

The reason for the heavy fine appears to be that the Govt want to protect the local trees. If the fines are not set high enough, everyone would simply take a chance to damage them for convenience. With the construction projects nowadays easily run into their millions of dollars, paying a small fine would not provide any deterrence for seemingly "insignificant" issue like damaging a tree. It is only when the amount is set hurting that the party involved would need to think twice.

On the other hand, construction progress can not be halted because of existing Tree Planting. The delicate balance really rests at the design stage where realistic Tree Protection should be balanced off with the objectives of development. This is an area of expertise belonging to the Arborists, if they are ever invited to consult. Getting an Independent Arborist (not in-house) to certify the outcome would also increase public credibility always. The public would want no more "Instant Effect" but something lasting to justify the expenditure.

Trees today are not only an ecological need in urban area, but also a psychological necessity for the residents. ISA research has shown good Tree Planting pacify the community & heal the sick faster. Trees have been in this planet many more times longer than the humans. The existence of trees have been implanted in our mind in a subconscious way. No civilized community can sustain without trees today.

Therefore, we need protect our trees whenever we can. Trees are such an asset to our society that we can not do without. May the heavy fines become a continuous deterrence rather than an exchange of offer, so that Tree protection will come from our heart.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."