Millions of trees at risk in a secretive nation-wide operation of the cutting run of the rail network to end the nuisance leaves and branches falling on the line.
Thousands of poplars, plane trees, lindens, ash trees and chestnut trees already chopped down the whole country from Yorkshire to Dorset, and the scale of potential harm, described in network rail plan includes 10m trees growing to 60 metres from the road.
The company has created an aerial map of the 40 000 ha, W / d, and identified “hot spots”, where Mature trees can cause problems at an undetermined time in the future. Engineers work in the targeted programme of felling that will overshadow the work on the Sheffield city Council, which was suspended in the face of a huge public outcry and condemnation from the Secretary for the environment, Michael Gove.
Over the past two weeks, people across the country woke up to the sound of chainsaws and expressed concern about the lack of consultation and the scale of destruction.
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In one incident, police in Bournemouth have been caused by the residents complain that the engineers were illegally operating as cutting occurs during the nesting season.
On one West London station this week, engineer felling of five trees said they conducted a “preemptive strike” in case of a branch or leaf fell on the line in the future.
Ray Walton witnessed hundreds of trees chopped down along the length of the track between Christchurch and Bournemouth. “It was total mass destruction, they destroyed all the trees,” he said. “These trees were Mature 30-foot tall trees that are already 50 years in some cases and never caused a problem.
“This goes far beyond the reasonable management of trees. They took them all and destroyed habitat for wildlife.”
The railway network has a green corridor along the tracks as a refuge for wild animals, but in London, Dorset, the Midlands and Yorkshire thousands of trees and the vegetation under them are cleared, leaving habitats destroyed.
James Graham, from Manchester, said he had seen thousands of trees cut down last week on a 10-mile section of the TRANS-Pennine route from Manchester to Leeds.
“I know that they have to manage trees, but it was excessive”, – he said. “It looked like some kind of logging operation. I was sitting in the train and watched the countryside and all you could see for miles around stumps and sawdust. They felled trees, which were far from the road. It was extreme”.
In Sutton Coldfield, groups working on the Railways has been cutting down hundreds of trees of the track. Elsewhere in the country, the tree surgeons for the railway firm is engaged in massive tree felling.
The rail network is recognised, the vast majority of trees were healthy. She defended the deforestation, arguing that its new database tree access problem trees “revolutionized” his approach to the “management of vegetation” to reduce delays and risks for passengers of the branches of the trees.
The company said that the average tree-from 10 to 50000 sheets, any or all of which may fall on the line.
Time leads to an increase in disturbance, because it happens in the mating season is from March to August – in spite of the promises of the railway network that no cutting will take place when birds are nesting.
Caroline Lucas, co-chair of the green party, said that the scale of the operation was a shocking act of environmental vandalism.
“While some tree work is necessary for safety reasons,” she said, “a network approach to the railway, as a rule, to be one of slash and burn. For action in the breeding season even more reckless”.
The representative of the Royal society for the protection of birds said: “I am afraid that a large part of this work … non-urgent work that simply carried out with special regard to the presence of birds and other animals.
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“ … If such work is carried out without reference to the wildlife Act and countryside, which offers basic protection to nesting birds, it may be in violation of the law.”
Network rail refused to provide the guardian with its database of trees, or will show how many 10m trees identified along the paths designed for chopping.
Paul de Zylva, nature campaigner “friends of the Earth”, criticized the insensitive design of the habitats.
“Rail corridors are havens for wildlife and trees can be important screening for the community,” he said. “Network rail needs to be improved, how he manages his land for wildlife, trees and plants can be a habitat for a variety of British wildlife, including nesting birds”.
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Network rail said: “network rail is a large, responsible public company that is serious about its environmental obligations. We manage our boardwalks to provide healthy biodiversity suggest experts in the field. We remove trees that are or may be hazardous or impact on reliability of services, which serve more than 4.5 million people every day.
“We make our policy in this area of public, open and transparent
method and work with environmental organisations to help us get it right, when we are forced to take action”.
On his web site, he said that the forest was part of his “Orbis” (offers services for rail better information service) program and saved the taxpayer thousands of pounds in repair and cleaning costs and reducing the likelihood of train collision with fallen tree or branch.
• This article was amended on 1 and 3 may 2018. It turned out that logging in the city Council of Sheffield program has been suspended, not completely stopped. Link to the railway network is doing its aerial photography using UAV was removed.