FACT CHECK: Were These Trees Cut Down To ‘Make Way For 5G’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows trees that were cut down on a residential street to “make way for 5G.”

Verdict: False

There is no indication that the trees were cut down to “make way for 5G.” The trees were reportedly cut down because some were old, sick or crooked, and they have since been replaced.

Fact Check:

The U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport notes in a 5G planning report that 5G signals can be impeded by some objects, including hedges and trees. 5G networks, which have been implemented in numerous countries, provide faster connectivity and download speeds for smartphone users.

The Facebook post shows a residential street lined with tree stumps, claiming someone “chopped 150 year old trees down to make way for 5G how sick is that.” There is, however, no evidence that the pictured trees were cut down for that reason.

The Daily Caller News Foundation conducted a reverse image search and found the photo in an article from the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. That article describes how the trees were cut down in Baron Descampslaan, a neighborhood in the Belgian city of Leuven, because they needed to be replaced. Belgian politician Carl Devlies said they needed to be replaced because “some trees were sick, others were crooked, and still others were showing signs of aging,” according to a translation of the article.

Hannelore Smitz, the author of the article, told Reuters that he obtained the photo from a resident who was concerned about why the trees had been cut down. The local government has since replaced the trees, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Were Thousands Of Birds Killed By Coronavirus Or 5G Networks In Italy?)

5G is not mentioned at any point in the article, and no media reports could be found to corroborate the Facebook post’s claim. Social media is replete with conspiracy theories related to 5G technology, including those that erroneously link its emergence to the spread of the new coronavirus.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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