A number of trees that make up Northern Ireland’s dark hedgerows could be felled as they are “potentially dangerous”, a report has said.
The tunnel of beech trees near Armory, County Antrim, became famous when it appeared Game of Thrones and remains a popular tourist attraction for fans of the HBO drama.
However, a new report, commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure and experts at Tree Safety, warned that the majority of the trees were in a poor condition, while one has died. It recommended that 11 of them be cut.
Six of the trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders, local media reports, meaning Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Councils will be asked to approve their removal.
The fate of the trees will be decided at a meeting this week where councilors will consider the health and safety concerns surrounding the “potentially dangerous and structurally compromised trees”.
They will also hear about the plan for the road, which includes work that “must help ensure the continued presence of the majority of the protected trees, with an indicated lifespan of over 10 years.”
Rob McCallion, of the Save the Dark Hedges campaign group, said: “If they don’t do something about these trees, someone is going to be killed because of the state they’re in.”
Mervyn Storey, a DUP councilor and member of the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust, added: “I, and no one else, want to see the beginning of the end of what is known as the Dark Hedges.
“There was no money put in to do something like an aggressive tree planting scheme, but my feeling is that it’s too late for that.”
The Dark Hedges were created when 150 trees were planted along Bregagh Road, built in 1775.
Several of them have been felled by storms in recent years and about 80 are left.