St Albans woman ‘horrified’ at clearing of Alban Way

A St Albans woman is “horrified at the destruction” of wildlife habitat along part of popular Alban Way.

A ST ALBANS woman is “horrified at the complete destruction” of wildlife habitat along part of a popular local walking and cycling path.

Mary Jarrett contacted Herts Advertiser after seeing workers clearing both sides of the Smallford end of Alban Way last week. A regular user of the corridor which links St Albans with Hatfield, Mary said she and other walkers, “stood with our mouths open” as they watched aghast as greenery was being chopped down.

She said: “I’m spitting feathers. It’s a wildlife corridor.”

In emails to Countryside Management Service (CMS), which is removing vegetation on behalf of St Albans city council, she said: “I regularly walk the Alban Way and I’m horrified at the complete destruction of habitat now under way at Smallford.

Mary said she was angry that while the scrub needed, “a good trim” the CMS had completely removed dense bush and, “the immediate impact is indeed very shocking” as the cleared section now looks like a “desert wasteland.”

She pleaded with the CMS: “Please, can’t you be a bit more sensitive. People don’t want [it] manicured along the Alban Way.”

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A spokesman for CMS said he was “sorry” Mary was upset by the scrub control, and he wanted to “reassure” her that the organisation did not intend turning Alban Way into a manicured path. However the organisation wanted to manage the vegetation as other trail users had expressed concern about dense scrub growing close to the path, making it “dark and forbidding to some.” Also, a cyclist was mugged along another stretch of the line recently.

In a statement, St Albans city council said: “Scrub along the verge is being removed and the original hedge line is being restored and replanted with hawthorn and other native shrub species. In time this combination of dense bushy hedges and grassland will provide excellent habitat for wildflowers, insects and the birds that feed them.”

Scrub control work between the Smallford Bridge and the council boundary with Hatfield would make the trail, “open and accessible.”