Fact Check: Trees Photographed In Europe Were NOT Chopped Down For 5G

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fact Check: Trees Photographed In Europe Were NOT Chopped Down For 5G Not 5G

Did a row of trees get chopped down in Europe to clear the way for 5G signals to reach further? No, that's not true: Trees do not need to be felled for the fifth-generation wireless technology to be transmitted. The tree removal in Marseille, France, had nothing to do with 5G, and the technology is not even available in France at this time.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook by Scott L. Biddle on March 31, 2019, under the title "5G HITS EUROPE - GOODBYE TREES & PLANT LIFE, HELLO CANCER." It opened:

Cutting down trees in Europe to allow the 5G signal to reach further! Guess what? Chemtrails aka nano aluminum particles sprayed in the air also help 5G travel faster and further.
Add to that fact summer of 2019 the mainstream media is admitting spraying the sun (Operation Solar Shield) is to help reduce climate change. Climate change is not real, but "they" have another reason for spraying and it's not to help!
The real reason for chemtrails picking up on a massive scale lately is 100% due to 5G...
Are you awake yet...?

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

The post has been shared more than 7,000 times as of April 14, but it's filled with inaccuracies.

As La Provence newspaper reported on October 16, 2018, workers chopped down trees at a public square in Marseille despite protests. It was part of a redevelopment plan to transform Place Jean Jaurès into a pedestrian-friendly Mediterranean square.

Here is a Google Street View image of the square before the development:

This site describes the redevelopment project:

Place Jean Jaurès Marseille - Soleam

La place Jean Jaurès : une ambition, un emblème Avec le plan " Ambition Centre-Ville ", la Métropole Aix-Marseille Provence et la Ville de Marseille souhaitent lui apporter une attractivité et une qualité de vie qui l'affirment comme lieu de destination.

The post stated that "5G hits Europe," but that is not entirely true. On March 18, 2020, RCR Wireless News reported that France had postponed its plans for a 5G spectrum auction due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The plans had already been delayed from their original target date, making France one of the last countries to adopt the high-speed technology.

The Facebook post also mentioned chemtrails being sprayed in the air to "help 5G travel faster and further (sic)."

According to New Scientist magazine, the chemtrails conspiracy theory goes back a number of years and suggests:

...a handful of people are extremely devoted to the idea that the government is spraying us with chemicals from planes, and what you think are simple contrails are actually high doses of mind-altering (or climate altering) chemical compounds meant to keep us under control.

The magazine reported that 77 scientists looked into the conspiracy theory from an objective viewpoint, and they overwhelmingly concluded that there was no evidence to support this belief.

Experts also say 5G is not believed to have a severe impact on public health, according to a report by the U.K. edition of Wired magazine:

Despite this, there is no solid evidence that 5G - or any mobile communications network - can have a harmful effect on human health. The upgrade is based on similar technology to preceding mobile networks, and so far no study has found a link between mobile phones and cancer, although research into the area is ongoing.

The post is filled with many factual inaccuracies and false suppositions. It joins a growing list of conspiracy theories that are being shared to scaremonger the public. You can read more of our fact checks on the topic here:

  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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