Anger as trees get the chop KATHER­INE BAIN­BRIDGE

Stockport Express - - News - Kather­ine.bain­bridge@men­ @KBain­bridgeMEN

RES­I­DENTS are up in arms fol­low­ing the ‘whole­sale de­struc­tion’ of trees and un­der­growth by Net­work Rail in Stock­port.

Peo­ple liv­ing on Poleacre Lane in Wood­ley say the felling work – which is car­ried out to pre­vent leaves from get­ting on the lines and caus­ing de­lays – is hav­ing a ‘mas­sive im­pact’ on the wildlife in the area.

Karen Tessier said: “Prior to this, the ar­eas were a habi­tat for badgers, foxes and owls to name a few. Sadly badgers have been found on the road.

“Fol­low­ing a re­cent com­mu­nity meet­ing we are most dis­tressed that we were ad­vised that the same ‘scorched earth’ pol­icy will ap­ply to Sta­tion Road and Wye­croft Close as was car­ried out on Poleacre Lane, even though this caused an en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe and up­set to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and wildlife.

“The whole­sale de­struc­tion is a wholly dis­pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse. We fully ap­pre­ci­ate that cer­tain trees may re­quire man­ag­ing but not the scorched earth pol­icy that has been im­ple­mented on Poleacre Lane.”

Ear­lier this year the po­lice were called to a protest staged by res­i­dents in Wood­ley in an ef­fort to stop work­ers from chop­ping down the trees

Amanda Mill­ward, one of the pro­tes­tors, said at the time: “Res­i­dents are dev­as­tated and an­gry, I cried when I saw what was hap­pen­ing. Most of us have lived here for at least 10 or 15 years and we are very pro­tec­tive of the area.”

Net­work Rail say the felling is es­sen­tial to the main­te­nance of the rail­way line and that they are speak­ing to res­i­dents in the Poleacre Lane area ahead of the se­lect re­plant­ing of trees and veg­e­ta­tion later this month.

A spokesman said: “Safety and punc­tu­al­ity on the rail­way are linked to the re­spon­si­ble man­age­ment of line­side veg­e­ta­tion.

“Through Wood­ley we have had to cut back and re­move trees to main­tain train ser­vices through the area. Eco­log­i­cal sur­veys took place be­fore and dur­ing the work to check for wildlife. We’ve also worked dur­ing the day to min­imise the im­pact on lo­cal res­i­dents. With the help of Wil­liam Wragg MP, the Tree Coun­cil, North­ern trains and neigh­bours from three res­i­den­tial ar­eas a group was set up to rep­re­sent every­one’s views.

“Dis­cus­sions on where trees will and won’t be re­planted are pro­gress­ing well and we con­tinue to work closely with all in­volved.”

Mr Wragg added: “I know that there was a lot of con­cern from lo­cal res­i­dents af­ter Net­work Rail cleared trees and veg­e­ta­tion from near the rail­way.

“I have been work­ing closely with res­i­dents to make sure the ap­pro­pri­ate re­plant­ing can take place, along with fence re­pairs.

“I will be hold­ing Net­work Rail to ac­count to get the out­comes res­i­dents want.”

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