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Support For Tree Preservation

Eva Wu – SCMP – Updated on Aug 30, 2008

Almost all would-be lawmakers say they support legislation aimed at preserving trees in the city.

Five green groups – the Conservancy Association, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Green Power and Greeners Action – initiated a “green charter” this month and sought the support of all Legislative Council election candidates.

Replies from 44 of the 46 individual candidates or party tickets supported a call for a law preserving trees in the city that would comprehensively detail how they would be protected.

On Wednesday, a tree – which experts said could have been diseased for some time – collapsed at Stanley Market and killed a young woman. The accident raised concerns about the health of trees throughout the city.

Conservancy Association campaign manager Peter Li Siu-man said there might be some obstacles to legislation on the issue.

“The government would have to commit much more resources to preserving trees,” he said. “Once a law was passed, the government would be required to remedy cases of neglect.”

The charter, which contains 11 demands covering issues ranging from air pollution to conservation policies, received a cool response from trades-related candidates and business-affiliated political parties.

Of the 59 candidates standing in the 30 functional constituencies, only 10 signed the charter. Some said they needed more time to study it and others rejected it outright. Liberal Party candidates refused to sign it.

Mr Li said the response was disappointing. “Trees are a public concern, as everyone can see after the accident. Their response reflects how much they support conservation policies despite what appears on their platforms,” he said, adding that many platforms failed to meet the charter’s basic demands.

Greenpeace’s Edward Chan Yue-fai said voters should scrutinise the stance of candidates on environmental affairs.

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