Public to be informed over future St Albans tree work

NO future tree work at a popular St Albans open space will be carried out without councillors for the area being notified in advance after a massacre on the meadow last month infuriated local residents.

Felling of trees at Birklands Meadow off London Road, St Albans, which is part of the Watling Chase Community Forest, was brought to a halt by nearby residents who rushed to the site in late April when they heard what was happening.

But by the time they got there, many of the trees had been lopped including some which had been officially planted by members of the public.

The county council maintained that they only pollarded trees which had been self sown to stop them growing too big but Penny Jones of the St Albans Community Forest Association, (now renamed the St Albans Green Belt Association to avoid confusion with the Heartwood Forest in Sandridge) which manages the site under an informal licence, pointed out that not only had the trees been decimated but the work had been done when birds were nesting.

Other local people who use Birklands spoke of their shock and dismay at the way the young trees had been cut down and left as five foot stumps.

This week Penny welcomed the county council’s decision to notify councillors in advance of any future work being carried out and said that an all-party meeting was to be held about future management of Birklands Meadow.

She went on: “There was no reason why these trees should have been removed because they were on the boundary and they had taken out all the ones in the middle.”

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St Albans MP Anne Main was inundated with correspondence from her constituents after the work was carried out because although some of the saplings were self seeded, residents could not understand why the felling had been done in such a destructive fashion without anyone being consulted.

She welcomed news that there would be no further tree work carried out at Birklands in the immediate future and that measures were being put in place to consult councillors in advance of any further pollarding and she added: “They failed to strike the right balance.”