April 29, 2015

Amber alert on Nørrebro!

The City of Copenhagen is at this moment planning to fell 14 of 17 healthy trees, to make a new tile square for the recycling station, on the corner of Møllegade and Guldbergsgade.

Before Christmas I asked for a status update on the project. They asked for peace to work, and told me to get back to them at a later point. A couple of weeks ago, rumors started circulating that mass fellings were ahead. Today our dialogue ended. Our group and concern was swept off the table, as we "are only two persons stirring up things". We were told to not share our findings or talk about this project on the social media like Twitter and Facebook. The conversation ended abrubtly with the project manager yelling and hanging up the phone.

Some of the trees we are fighting for.

Or, as it looks on a tree map.

Initially 9 trees were preserved and included in the new layout. The proposal was well received, and the green light was given to continue. First draft, leafy and green:

But by the second draft things turned grey fast: only 4 trees out of the 17 were spared. Another four "replacement trees" added (and we all know the life expectancy of those...).

This proposal was not received well by the local council.

And here we are, at third and final layout with only 3 trees left standing.

You wonder what the citizens hearings are even about?

Nørrebro is the borough with the least amount of nature, in Copenhagen, counted in m2 pr. citizen. Preserving the leaf mass is crucial! Promises of replacement trees are useless, and even harmful when used as a green card to fell big and healthy trees.

To bypass the citizens wish for a green square, the Department has come up with a tree evaluation, stating they are all in poor health and a danger to the children. This evaluation is allegedly made by landscape architects, but we can’t get access to this false statement. An evaluation that goes against every other, made by experts.

Forester and chairman of the Nature Group in the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, Ove Løbner, has inspected the trees. This is his report, posted with his consent:

I have inspected the trees in the area of the upcoming recycling station on the corner of Møllegade and Guldbergsgade, from the street, as it was fenced off.

Facing Møllegade there are 3 ash trees and 1 mirabelle tree in bloom. All healthy with no dead branches in the crown, and a reasonable crown.

Towards Guldbergsgade there are 6 ashtrees in line, also healthy and with no dead branches in the crown. From Møllegade the trees no. 1,2,5 and 6 are all nice trees with a reasonable crown. No. 2 is heavily overgrown with vine, and the crown is hardly nice without the vine. No. 3 is a small straggler, that probably won’t fit among the other trees. Therefore I see no real loss for the greenery if the trees 2 and 3 were removed.

Along the area there are a row of poplar trees, cut short. But since the trees have not been pruned for years, they have produced a lot of branches, so the trees are healthy. They are not a pretty sight, but that is how it goes when people treat trees with no consideration to anyone but them selves. In this case probably to prevent shadow or in fear of them falling over in a storm. The row of poplar trees, or just a part of it, should be able to be saved, if the square was designed around them. With a good pruning they would absolutely give the square a beautiful green touch.

First and foremost you should fight for the 4 trees along Møllegade and the 4 beautiful trees along Guldbergade, as a significant green feature in the street.

(End of quote)
Needless to say communications with the project manager has gone from lacking to non-existent. We are not to make demands, but simply accept being cc’ed on the progress, at their convenience. Neither local council (Lokaludvalg Nørrebro) or the local environmental office (Miljøpunkt Nørrebro) have seen the final layout, which is now most likely awaiting political approval. The big question is, how the politicians can be expected to make a decision, based on the wrong information? That of the healthy trees being sick. If the project is approved, it is to begin in early 2016.

We will fight to save as many trees as possible, on this lot. As shown on one of the skectches, at least three big ashtrees survive, by placing the shed next to the trees, along the wall that is already preserved.
And no, we won't stay silent when healthy trees are endangered. We share it on the social media!

Read this post in Danish here: Alarm på Nørrebro!

When we first learned about the Møllegade trees: