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  Letters to The Straits Times Forum Page, 11 Feb 05

Protect mature trees, no matter where they grow

THERE has been a lot of publicity recently regarding new legislation to preserve trees. However, within a day of the announcement, 15 to 20 mature trees along Jalan Membina in Tiong Bahru were felled. The trees were about 25 to 30 years old, had lovely shapes, provided good shade and did not shed their branches. I called the HDB, National Parks Board (NParks) and Tanjong Pagar Town Council to find out who was responsible for felling the trees. None claimed responsibility until I received a call from NParks informing me that Surbana, the project manager of a property development there, was behind the move. As Surbana comes under the umbrella of the HDB, it does not need permission nor approval to fell the trees as Jalan Membina is not a heritage road. Its current project occupies less than a quarter of the length of Jalan Membina, yet trees along the entire stretch were felled. What is the point of having a national policy of tree preservation when a corporate body like the HDB can fell trees at will? Mature trees should be protected wherever they stand, be they in a heritage road or HDB estate.

Lu Chisen

Why were trees felled for no apparent reason?
I WAS walking towards the bus stop in Braddell Road near Marymount flyover when I discovered that the thick trees bordering Braddell View had been felled. As a resident of the estate, I was shocked to see them felled for no apparent reason. None of the trees in question obstructed pedestrians or traffic. Most of them were quite old and provided a thick canopy around the area.

Narayan Adi Lakshmi

Reply in Letters to the Straits Times, 18 Feb 05
Trees had to go due to road widening

WE REFER to the letter, 'Protect mature trees, no matter where they grow', by Mr Lu Chisen (ST, Feb 11).

Sustaining and enhancing the green ambience of our Garden City is the guiding principle behind the National Parks Board's (NParks) care and maintenance of our green estates. With this focus in mind, every effort is made to care for and maintain the health of our trees.

NParks works with both public and private agencies to minimise the removal of greenery in our environment. It makes realistic assessment of greenery that can be retained in a development proposal, given the need to strike a balance between greenery conservation and development.

The Housing and Development Board is mindful of the importance of greenery and the need to conserve it. The approach has always been to retain and incorporate existing trees in its developments, wherever feasible. In this instance, with new housing developments and a school coming up in Jalan Membina, the road has to be widened to cater to increased vehicular traffic. Trees along one side of the road were affected.

We would like to assure the writer that trees will be planted once the road widening is completed. When these trees mature, they will provide good shade and greenery to the area. We thank the writer for his concern and feedback.

Simon Longman
Director (Arboriculture) National Parks Board (NParks)

Wong Wee Yoo
Deputy Director (Design & Development)

Reply in Letters to the Straits Times, 1 Mar 05
Roads' impact on trees minimised

I WOULD like to thank Mr Narayan Adi Lakshmi for his letter, 'Why were trees felled for no apparent reason?' (ST, Feb 11).

The Land Transport Authority is building a road interchange at the junction of Braddell Road, Thomson Road and Lornie Road, to provide a direct link between Lornie Road and Braddell Road. Construction, which started late last year, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

The project is part of the Outer Ring Road System, which will provide motorists with a smooth route across the island while bypassing the city. When designing the road interchange, we were mindful of the possible impact of our works on the surroundings. We have therefore made efforts to retain as many trees as possible.

However, we regret that certain trees and vegetation, such as those beside the Marymount Flyover, had to be removed to allow for the flyover construction, as well as the site facilities needed to carry out the construction works. We will restore the greenery in the area by planting new trees in the vicinity at a later stage of construction.

Han Liang Yuan (Ms)
Senior Manager Corporate Communications
Land Transport Authority

Related articles on Heritage Trees of Singapore
and Putting a price on nature in Singapore

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