Anger as trees get the chop KATHERINE BAINBRIDGE
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.”