Tree-felling along motorways sparks controversy

The Flemish Road and Traffic Agency (AWV) will start felling trees along Flemish motorways again, as from next week. Last year, the felling was met with a lot of criticism. This year, it is not different, but the agency retorts that "road safety is crucial." 

Last year, the agency had many trees chopped down along motorways trunk roads in Flanders. Motorists who found that the trees brightened up their day and their time in the traffic jam, protested, but only after the trees had been chopped, as they were confronted with a new reality.

This year, pressure groups have started a campaign before the AWV will start a new round of logging. The agency does not remove the trees: they are being cut down to the bottom, to allow them to grow again. It is a process that has been going on for time, but last year's chopping round caused quite a stir. 

500 hectares of woodlands have disappeared over the past 3 years. This is too much

The Flemish greens of Groen have started a petition, arguing that more trees are being felled than is necessary. Flemish MP Bart Caron says that "over the past 3 years, about 500 hectares of woodlands have disappeared in this way." However, Veva Daniëls of the AWV retorts that "road safety is crucial. The trees are being removed because they could be uprooted and fall on the road in the case of heavy winds. At the same time, the felling will increase visibility and make sure that road signs are clearly visible at all times."

Road safety is crucial