St Albans council accused of 'chainsaw massacre' as residents uncover plan to chop down 250 trees

22 May 2023, 08:06 | Updated: 22 May 2023, 12:52

Some 250 trees are set to be chopped down across the city
Some 250 trees are set to be chopped down across the city. Picture: Twitter/XR St Albans
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

St Albans council has been accused of waging a "chainsaw massacre" after plans were uncovered to chop down 250 of the city's trees.

Residents have protested the council's plans, though it is believed St Albans has already started the process of removing trees.

According to residents, hundreds of street trees have been marked with an "X", highlighting which trees are set to be chopped down.

Local activists have gathered to protest against the planned removal of trees, including from Extinction Rebellion's St Albans branch.

The environmental group said: "St Albans residents furious as Lib Dem controlled (St Albans Council) starts felling 250 mature trees DURING THE NESTING SEASON."

They also called on council leader Chris White to "stop this madness".

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St Albans residents gather to oppose plans to chop down 250 trees in the city
St Albans residents gather to oppose plans to chop down 250 trees in the city. Picture: Twitter/XR St Albans

It follows a similar row in Plymouth, which saw council leader Richard Bingley order the felling of 110 healthy trees in the city centre in March.

He ordered over 100 trees to be chopped down in the middle of the night to make way for a £12.7 million redevelopment project.

He was set to face a vote of no-confidence by the opposition Green party over the incident after swathes of criticism, but announced his resignation shortly afterwards.

Read More: Labour takes control of Plymouth council - after Conservative administration 'tree massacre' in city centre

Read More: Plymouth council leader who ordered tree 'chainsaw massacre' quits amid backlash

Green councillor in St Albans Simon Grover labelled the council's plans "wrong" and has called on residents to sign his party's petition to stop the felling.

There is particular concern given that it is currently nesting season, meaning there will be baby birds in the trees.

But the council has cited health and safety concerns as a reason for the felling.

A spokesman for the council said: "Fifty trees were recommended for removal because they were dead, dying, diseased, had suffered significant damage or were a health and safety risk.

"Residents are made aware of tree works by signs affixed to the trees and the information is listed on our website. As part of our commitment to tackle climate change, every effort is made to preserve our existing tree stock.

"This work is part of a normal maintenance programme that is sensitive to, and takes into consideration, wildlife needs, trees’ safety and public safety.

"As part of our climate change commitment, trees that are removed will be replaced [in line with the local] tree replacement programme."

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