A second independent arborist has joined calls for Newcastle City Council to review information on which it based a decision to cut down Laman Street’s fig boulevard.
But the council said it remained confident in its advice, which came from several sources and all concluded the trees posed a significant safety risk.
Sean Freeman, a consulting arborist to local government in south-east Queensland and northern NSW, has taken an interest in the case following community outcry.
Campaigners fighting to keep the 14 Hills figs on the Cooks Hill street have questioned the council’s information and methods for determining that the trees are failing and pose a public safety risk.
Independent arborists were consulted as part of the council’s decision.
Protesters also enlisted professional advice, and have highlighted the opinion of arborist Mark Hartley, who said incorrect assumptions had been made about the figs.
Mr Freeman said on Wednesday he supported Mr Hartley’s view after reviewing case information.
His opinion was also based on a visit to Laman Street last year.
‘‘My time in [Laman] street didn’t leave me with an impression that the trees were an enormous risk ... to public safety,’’ Mr Freeman said.
A council spokeswoman said that over the past few years the council had commissioned several reports from respected independent arborists regarding the condition of the figs in Laman Street.
‘‘All of the reports came to the same conclusion: that the trees pose a significant risk,’’ she said.
The spokeswoman said the council’s arborists agreed with the findings.
‘‘Council is confident that the advice it has received regarding the figs is sound,’’ she said.
The council was to begin felling the figs this week but work was halted amid community-initiated court proceedings.