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Hundreds of trees have been illegally felled to block views from homes in Sydney

Hundreds of trees have been illegally felled to block views from homes in Sydney

For months, hundreds of trees have been illegally felled or poisoned in upscale suburbs of Sydney. Local officials suspect the owners of the luxury villas there want to destroy their views, especially in order to increase the value of the properties.

“It makes me very emotional.” As Caroline Corrigan, mayor of Mosman, a suburb of Sydney, passionately describes, In a lengthy BBC report Published this Sunday, May 12, is how a man tried to attack the nine-century-old fig trees overlooking Balmoral Beach. “I close my eyes and I can't imagine that scene,” she says, still in shock.

For months, hundreds of trees have been illegally felled or poisoned in upscale suburbs of Sydney. Local officials suspect the owners of the luxury villas there want to destroy their views, especially in order to increase the value of the properties. According to them, it is the worrying “tree destruction” in the midst of global warming.

“It's selfishness and greed, there are no other words. It's the worst of human nature,” said John Moratelli, president of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The equivalent of 14 tennis courts destroyed

Last July, in Castle Cove, a paradise for flora and fauna north of Sydney, 265 trees and plants, the equivalent of 14 tennis courts, were cut down, drilled or poisoned. So much poison was used that local officials feared it would harm marine wildlife.

The problem with various local authorities is that if the culprits are out in the open, it is as difficult for them as for the police to gather enough evidence to charge them. Few are guilty and the fines are often small compared to the wealth of the villa owners.

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The mayors of these towns now appeal to the state of New South Wales where the towns are located. They want the cost of the fine to be increased or jail time to be imposed. A state representative contacted by the BBC said it would consult with local authorities before “changing any policy”. Mosman's mayor Caroline Corrigan says she will continue to speak out [ses] concerns” and hopes this “hot” item will be taken into account. Meanwhile, local patrols are being set up to keep an eye on Sydney's precious trees.

Clement Bowden Journalist BFMTV

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