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Council moves to mitigate risk from aging elms in McLeod Street

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

For many years, residents and users of McLeod Street in Upper Hutt have enjoyed the sight of a street lined with giant Siberian elm trees. The trees were planted in 1949 and some have grown up to 21 metres tall with shade footprints rivalling most house sizes in the area. The limbs and branches stretch well beyond council berms, over neighbouring properties, footpaths, roadways, and power lines. Unfortunately, the elms have grown to a size and age where they are now entering a stage of decline in their lifespan. This poses a significant risk to people and property as the limbs become more brittle and likely to break off in strong winds.

Because of this risk, Council will be removing the Siberian elm trees in McLeod Street over six days, beginning Monday 17 June. Contractors expect to be able to remove up to four trees per day, taking a staged approach to the removal.

"We acknowledge the pain this is going to cause for many residents, with the elms having been an ever-present sight in the lives of so many," says Council’s Chief Executive, Peter Kelly. "McLeod Street has had a visual amenity rivaled by few other streets in the city, but sadly the increase in risk as the trees age beyond their prime is a factor that Council cannot ignore."

"The removal of these trees, by any account, is a loss for Upper Hutt. We are very passionate about the urban biodiversity that is contained within our city and see ourselves as stewards of that. But we are making a commitment to begin the replanting phase as soon as possible. This will involve talking and meeting with residents and other groups around the type of trees Council could replant in the berms with a view to gain a broad view from across the community."

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