Editorial : Ambitious but incompetent:
Government's decision to fell trees has failed to convince the public

【明報專訊】TWO STONEWALL TREES in front of Tang Chi Ngong Building of the Hong Kong University have been cut down by the Lands Department. Conservationists question whether there are sufficient grounds for felling the trees while the government claims it has considered all the factors and emphasises that the trees have been cut down for public safety reasons. The fact that both sides stick to their own arguments shows that there are some obvious shortcomings in the government's urban forestry management. The Tree Management Office (TMO) is ineffective in its co-ordinating role and its authority has been eroded gradually, which results in a loss of public trust in it. There is a need to improve the communication between government officials and the public. The government should strengthen the functions of the TMO, listen more to the opinions of non-government experts and rebuild the authority of the TMO. Otherwise similar disputes over tree felling will keep recurring in the future.