The Audit Commission urged the government to study if there is a need to pass laws to pinpoint responsibility for managing roadside trees following a series of fatal accidents involving trees that fell on road users, RTHK reported.
The chaotic tree management system has caused delays in handling complaints and could lead to hazards to the public, the commission said in a report published Thursday.
At present, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department is responsible for taking care of trees on “landscaped areas”, while the Highways Department and Lands Department should manage the rest of roadside trees in urban areas.
The Tree Management Office, which coordinates tree management efforts by various agencies, handled 39 disputes involving 735 trees from August last year to June, and four of them required its adjudication.
The commission said some 70,000 roadside trees were left unmanaged as of June this year, and more than 1,300 trees were considered “problematic”.
Some of the trees were already suffering from various diseases before agencies reached an agreement on who should take care of them.
At least 16 trees were found to be infected with brown root rot disease, posing a threat to the safety of road users, but none of them have been removed, the commission said.
The lack of regulations for private owners to look after trees on their property was brought to light after a pregnant woman was killed by a falling tree on Robinson Road three months ago.
– Contact us at [email protected]