Destruction

PUBLISHED: 12:08 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

SIR, — We refer to the article Day of the Triffids (Herts Advertiser, February 28). We think The Chainsaw Massacre a more appropriate title. We accept that we agreed to the contractors carrying out woodland clearance of low-level branches and scrub in t

SIR, - We refer to the article "Day of the Triffids" (Herts Advertiser, February 28). We think The Chainsaw Massacre a more appropriate title.

We accept that we agreed to the contractors carrying out woodland clearance of low-level branches and scrub in this part of Harpenden Common. We also accept the removal of some weak or immature trees, particularly if too close to a mature tree or interfering with it in some way. However we were quite unprepared for the wholesale destruction of the trees here.

Now that the contractors have gone we can assess the full extent of this destruction. At least 130 healthy trees have been cut down of which at least 63 were of substantial size - diameter of at least nine inches. Only 20 trees have been left standing of which 11 are the apple trees which the town council are so keen to "expose". One is a cherry tree which we understand was rescued at the last minute, the rest having been cut down.

Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles, who chairs the town council's environmental committee, is remarkably unconcerned at this environmental damage. He just says that it looks a bit stark when you first see it and "as a lay person" he was a bit startled to see the end result. Leaving aside the question of why a lay person is chairing this important committee, it is astonishing that Cllr Chichester-Miles makes no comment on the facts stated above.

Cllr Chichester-Miles also ignores the fact, of which he ought to be particularly aware as chairman of this particular committee, that the Common has been designated a wildlife reserve. It is difficult to think of anything more damaging to a wildlife reserve than cutting down most of the trees, thus destroying the habitat of the animals, birds and insects which lived there.

We agree with Robert Hill that the apple trees are nothing special and not worth the sacrifice of so many other trees. It is particularly baffling that the town council merely say that they wish to "expose" the apple trees. Hardly any of the trees which have been cut down are even near any of the apple trees. One group of trees of which at least 60 have been cut down formed a barrier against noise and wind on the west side of the area in question. There was only one apple tree in this area. We have invited the town clerk to come and see for himself the effect of the removal of this barrier. He has not responded to our e-mail.

JOHN and ROSALIND DRYSDALE,

East Common, Harpenden.

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