WORK by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to reshape willow trees on the Queen Elizabeth Boulevard in Enniskillen has left them looking more like “toilet brushes”, Green Party Deputy leader Tanya Jones has said. 
The trees have been reduced and reshaped in what the Council says is “a more formal style in keeping with an urban setting.”
“Such maintenance works are necessary to ensure the effective long term management of the trees and to contain the trees within the bounds of the site,” said a spokesman. 
While the quick growing nature of willow means the trees will likely return to their former glory in a matter of months, Ms. Jones has described the work by the Council as “quite a shock.”
“Some of them now look more like toilet brushes than trees. I’m hoping that it isn’t as brutal as it looks. The Council’s description of the work is unclear whether the principal purpose is the health of the trees, the convenience of passers by or cosmetic appearance,” she said. 
Ms. Jones believes the crown reduction, which was the technique used, “should be an absolute last resort” as decay can spread quickly inside cut branches, especially in the Autumn.
“Every pruning cut inflicts a wound upon a tree, and so the cuts should be kept as small as possible to give the tree the maximum chance of making a full recovery,” she said.
As well as providing wildlife habitats, absorbing pollution and carbon dioxide, producing oxygen and making our towns and villages more attractive and enjoyable, Ms. Jones says trees help to prevent flooding, decrease stress, reduce crime and increase road safety.
“The benefits of having trees in our towns and cities are huge. A study in Washington University has even shown than tourists will spend up to 50 per cent more in areas with natural landscaping including trees.
“In Sheffield, where my son lives, the Council has authorised hundreds of trees to be cut down completely, making the city a sadder and a poorer place. It is up to all of us who love Enniskillen to ensure that nothing like that ever happens here,” she said.