Did council go too far in felling trees on Nomansland?
An angry resident has accused the district council of massacring trees on a village common opposite his home.
John Stocker, 74, lives on Nomansland in Wheathampstead where a number of trees have recently been cut down.
A contractor was brought in by the district council, which manages the land, to cut down trees as a way of maintaining the forest and was able to keep the wood as payment.
John, who is UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hitchin and Harpenden, believes that the number of trees cut down far exceeds the amount necessary to maintain the land.
He said: “They cut down dozens and dozens of perfectly healthy trees. Some of those trees are 12 or 15 inches thick, even more than that.
“I actually live on the common and it’s heartbreaking to see how they do it. It’s ridiculous getting a contractor in there to chop down the trees and pay him with the wood because he’s going to cut down as much as he can.
“He’s going to chop the best trees down to get the best and most wood.”
Debbi White, St Albans council’s property and asset manager, said that the work was being carried out by approved forestry contractors and was examined in great detail by the council and its partners.
She went on: “The trees to be thinned or coppiced are selected by council officers rather than the forestry contractor. Selection is made entirely on the basis of need and the requirements of the Woodland Management Plan. It is not made on the basis of commercial considerations.
“The council receives a percentage of the value of the wood tonnage. For this project, this amounts to a total of £1,150. All of this money will be reinvested in managing the Nomansland habitat.”