Campaigners battling council plan to fell trees call survey ‘incompetent’

tree felling at Hall om Wong
tree felling at Hall om Wong

Residents campaigning against trees being chopped down at a Kimberley park have been left stumped at a survey outlining the reasons why they need to go.

Broxtowe Borough Council carried out a survey at Hall Om Wong park, ahead of work to fell 34 trees on the site.

But protesting residents say they have serious concerns about the survey and have branded it “incompetent” and “inadequate”.

Kat Boettge said it did not provide reasons for each individual tree being cut down, and claimed the surveyor failed to assess the trees they were mostly concerned about.

She said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous to carry out a survey and not inspect some of the trees in question. It’s astounding.”

The council report said trees in the central and western section “were not inspected due to their location away from the paths”.

Ms Boettge, a former member of Eastwood Town Council who is standing for the Green Party in Kimberley at May’s Nottinghamshire County Council elections, said: “These are the areas we are mostly concerned with, and the tree surgeon, for some reason, could not even walk there.

“I would question someone commissioned to write an independent survey on trees who does not wish to walk off a public path on a small park.

“Anybody should be able to see how incompetent the report was. It didn’t even comment on the number of trees to be chopped down.”

Resident Darren Warner said: “We were promised a report that would outline the reasons for each individual tree, case by case why they would have to be felled. This is the only the way to do this.

“This situation is ridiculous and divisive, the air is now filled with a cloud of misinformation.”

A council spokesman said: “The woodland management relates to a specific area on the site and so the company surveyed these particular areas.”

The council plans to fell the trees in the wooded area of the park “to allow for even spread and for biodiversity to thrive”.

Last month, Mr Warner, walked around the site with a council officer, who said the reasons for felling the trees included signs of decay and some growing too near to peoples homes.

However, protesters say they had their own private survey carried out by an expert in the field, who said that, despite the early signs of decay, the trees would take 40 to 50 years to die.

Mr Warner said: “They are healthy trees. This is called euthanasia. This is a dangerous precedent and this reason can not be allowed to go ahead.”

Other reasons given included several trees not being native.

Ms Boettge said: “We do not accept these reasons as valid. I accept generally native trees are better for biodiversity. However, these established trees have been part of the woods for years now.

“There is a large willow tree, to which the service manage stated needed to go as it had grown to its full potential, and would die in the next few years.

“This is not acceptable it is now a healthy and beautiful tree.

“Owls and bats have been sighted and heard at night, these trees form part of their habitat.

“Birds and other wildlife have been suffering from the ever-decreasing green land that has been necessary for their habitat.

“We must be very mindful about this, rather than just cutting trees down.”

The majority of the trees due to be felled stand at the top left of the park.

Ms Boettge said: “The remaining trees would be so sparse it would not be a wood anymore.

“Residents who live behind there will get an increased air and noise pollution from the main road without the trees shielding them.

“Many of the trees there are cherry trees which blossom beautifully in the spring.

“We call on the council to review these plans fully.”

The council spokesman said: “Properties next to the park have been informed and to date we have not received any adverse comments.

“Good tree management ensures sufficient light to the woodland floor enabling the development of a range of diverse habitats.

“Without tree management, trees can grow in such a way as they block out light by forming a canopy.

“Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has been consulted on these works and is supportive.

But Mr Warner insisted the plans were “over the top”.

He said: “If they are blighting people’s lives then they have to come down.

“I don’t want to be accused of being some erratic eco-warrior.

“We need to be rational and sensible, but this is not rational and it’s over the top. We need to think very carefully before we start chopping down healthy mature trees.”

Councillor Shane Easom, council leisure and environment committee chairman, said: “We know the local community is passionate about wildlife and I would like to reassure them this work is vital to ensure the ecological value and viability of the woodlands.

“The council has taken a second opinion from independent tree specialists who agreed the work is necessary.

“The work will be undertaken sensitively, so as not to damage the remaining trees or harm any wildlife and non-native trees and poorer specimens have been selected for removal rather than healthy trees.”

After the work is done schools and youth groups will plant flowers and shrubs and install bird and bat boxes.

Early summer there will be a carved log bench installed.

The campaigners have an online petition with more than 270 signatures opposing the plans – Visit change.org and search “Kimberley trees”.