• Over an acre of woodland to be felled at West Hill

    10th April 2013 | News | Claire
  • I was contacted yesterday by a resident at Broad Oak Close who was concerned about chainsaw activity.

    I visited the road and learned from tree surgeons who are working on the woodland between Broad Oak Close and Heather Grange, that they have been instructed by the landowner, to fell an area of trees, which forms part of the protected woodland between Broad Oak Close and Heather Grange.

    The area earmarked for felling stretches to the boundary of trees bordering Heather Grange. 

    Safety grounds have been given for the reason for cutting down the mature woodland, which consists mainly of scots pines. But the woodland is in private ownership, with little or no public access.

    EDDC tree officers have confirmed that the work is perfectly legal and has also been approved by the Forestry Commission.  The tree surgeons have confirmed that re-planting will take place, but this may not start for several years.

    It seems reasonable to fell trees that border properties, if they are assessed as unsafe, but what I am having trouble understanding is the reason for felling over an acre of trees, which stretches from Broad Oak Close to Heather Grange. 

    The argument that felling the trees bordering properties destabilises the others only makes sense if there is a real danger of the remaining trees causing damage to property.  But this is unlikely because the remaining trees further into the woodland itself, are not close enough to properties to cause such damage. 

    It seems very flimsy grounds to fell such a large area of woodland.  I am also unhappy about the timing – during the bird nesting season and when our songbirds are struggling to maintain their numbers.  I have sought advice from Natural England and the RSPB.

    Other felling work, which has already started, includes felling a tree’s length into the woodland along the length of the woodland on Broad Oak Close, again for safety reasons.  The majority of trees along the road boundary will be retained.

    Photograph: Part of the acre of woodland earmarked for felling at West Hill.