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LCSD apologises for tree pruning incident in Tai Po
     A spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) expresses sadness and apologies for the tree pruning incident that happened in Tai Po yesterday (June 6) in which some treasured birds were injured or killed.  
     According to initial investigation, the LCSD received a public complaint referred by another Government department on May 23 that some tree branches were overgrowing at the junction of Kwong Fuk Road and Wan Tau Kok Lane in Tai Po and requested for a trimming by the Government. The LCSD staff therefore followed up in accordance with standing instructions. During a site inspection on June 2, it was found that some branches of the trees were too long and too dense, with a few dieback twigs. Since the typhoon season is imminent, the overgrown branches may pose danger to the passers-by. In order to ensure public safety, tree pruning work was therefore considered necessary.
     The LCSD's tree team staff carried out tree pruning work at the site yesterday. A call from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) was received in the afternoon, saying that some members of the public expressed concern to the department that the tree pruning work would cause disturbance to the birds nested there. The tree pruning work had however been completed and the staff had already left the scene upon receipt of the call.
     The LCSD is taking serious steps to investigate and follow up on the case. The department has immediately contacted the Tree Management Office (TMO) under the Development Bureau. Following the issue of email by TMO to all tree management departments on matters to be observed in tree pruning which include protection of wild animals, the LCSD swiftly informed all tree team staff and reminded them to pay more attention. Meanwhile, the LCSD has been in close contact with the AFCD with an aim to seeking its professional advice on the case and future remedial measures, as well as arranging in-depth discussions and follow-up actions.
     All LCSD's tree team staff have received professional tree care training and possess relevant knowledge and experience. Some of them hold arboriculture qualifications such as certified arborists and tree risk assessors. The LCSD will further strengthen its tree care training for these staff covering wild animal protection with a view to enhancing their awareness and technique. 
     The LCSD has all along been following the standing mechanisms and guidelines on tree maintenance and management works. The existing guidelines include the TMO's "Guidelines for Tree Risk Assessment and Management Arrangement" and "General Guidelines on Tree Pruning".
Ends/Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:43
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