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Fenland Council deny 'slash and burn' policy as trees are felled in Wisbech

Fenland District Council has been accused of having a ‘slash and burn’ policy when it comes to the areas trees.

Alan Wheeldon, who volunteers with the Wisbech in Bloom group as well as Street Pride, posted a picture of trees cut down along New Drove in Wisbech this week.

He said: “So, the deforestation of Wisbech continues. It seems that Fenland District Council are not letting up in their relentless efforts to destroy every single tree in our town.

Fenland District Council has been accused of having a 'slash and burn' policy when it comes to the area's trees after these were felled in New Drove, Wisbech. (32910754)
Fenland District Council has been accused of having a 'slash and burn' policy when it comes to the area's trees after these were felled in New Drove, Wisbech. (32910754)

“It’s as if they won’t be satisfied until there are no trees left. Down New Drove alone (and this is just one street in Wisbech) 10 mature trees have now been felled and destroyed within a matter of weeks.

“Last year also saw the removal of many fine trees from our park, some that have been there for over 150 years. Reports have also come in of other trees removed from Ramnoth Road and other streets in Wisbech and Fenland District Council has not shown any interest in replacing them.

“What is obvious is that they have no formal strategy regarding the future of tree removal and replacement in our town. They just blindly push ahead with their slash and burn policy with no thought of what people in the town want. They don’t care. Their ‘we know best’ arrogance is such that it even flies in the face of Cambridgeshire County Council’s initiative that urges the planting of more trees all over the county.

“So, if you look out onto a lovely scenic tree rich view and listen to the birds in the morning, singing from the colourful branches, keep a close eye out, as the Fenland chainsaws are coming.Many councils have unpublicised plans to fell all their urban trees.

“Their reasons are that it is cheaper to fell them once and get rid of them all, rather than have to maintain them into the future. They sneakily fell trees in a gradual and sustained way so that residents are less likely to notice if trees disappear one at a time. It is now obvious that Fenland District Council operate this policy as they neither inform, consult nor warn local residents that they are going to fell a tree. They don’t want the hassle of residents objecting. Its tree decimation by stealth and it’s happening all over Britain.

A Fenland Council spokesman said: “We would like to assure residents the council does not take the decision to fell trees lightly. We are committed to doing everything we can to preserve and enhance our trees as they add considerable amenity value to the district and provide economic, social and environmental benefits.

“Trees are only felled for sound arboriculture reasons and in most cases it is because they are dead, dying or dangerous, and pose a significant risk to public safety.The council also has a limited budget for arboriculture work and will therefore carry out tree felling only when absolutely necessary.

“It is a shame that we have to remove any of our trees but public safety is paramount. We must consider the risks they can pose and keep our open spaces as safe as is reasonably practicable to prevent serious injury, or even deaths, from falling trees and branches.

“Trees removed from Wisbech Park last year and those recently removed from New Drove will be replaced with new saplings in the autumn, which is considered the best time to plant new trees.

“The council’s policy is to replace felled trees where possible, with each tree being considered on a case by case basis. However, in the last 12 months we have exceeded this and replanted more trees than have been felled.”

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