Wokingham.Today

Councillor’s concerns after protected trees felled on land near Bearwood Lakes

trees
Trees have been cut down on land near Bearwood Lakes

NUMEROUS protected trees were cut down last month, near Bearwood Lakes.

They were chopped as part of a  clearance operation but their removal sparked anger among residents and councillors.

In early December, the landowner applied for permission to carry out clearance works for “dangerous” trees.

Trees
The trunks of the trees that have been removed

This was approved by Wokingham Borough Council with a deadline of May.

The lake is classed as a Category A dam — where failure or mis-operation could result in loss of life of at least 10 people, cause significant economic loss and damage to downstream property, infrastructure and environment.

Due to this classification, work can be carried out on Tree Protection Order (TPO) trees for health and safety reasons.

But Cllr Gary Cowan, independent councillor for Arborfield questioned whether replacements would be planted.

He said: “If the brutal tree felling was justified, which I doubt, why did not the council insist of  replacement to at least achieve the lost trees to fit in with our Climate Emergency.”

He also questioned why ward members and the parish council was not told about the work in advance.

Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure at Wokingham Borough Council, said the removal of trees that pose a health and safety threat are a necessary loss.

He told Wokingham.Today: “The council is working to ensure only the required removals have taken place and will take appropriate action if more trees than required have been removed.

“While the loss of significant trees has had an impact on the landscape, this has to be balanced against the risk to the lake, which is a key feature of the nationally important Registered Historic Park and Garden of Bearwood Park.”

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