I have been watching the moves of Cork City Council with amusement over the past few days.

The council has managed to bypass the contrived forestry licensing process in “planting” trees in Cork city centre – much to the envy of the hundreds of farmers waiting on forestry planting licences no doubt.

Five timber-framed, moss-filled tree alternatives were installed instead of actual live trees.

The tree alternatives are intended to filter particulates from the air and relay information on air quality to the public via the in-tree screens.

The cost of these “trees” – €70,000 apiece.

The city tree alternatives will also require “a couple of thousand” per year in maintenance, the council has said, with a portion of this spend going to units’ electricity requirements.

How these maintenance costs will stack up against those of the current ash dieback scheme will be an area I will follow keenly in the coming years.