Track and signalling

01.05.18

Network Rail under fire for ‘secretive’ tree felling plans

Wildlife charities have voiced their concerns as millions of trees along the UK’s rail lines are at risk of facing the axe in an effort by NR to prevent leaves falling on lines and causing delays.

The railway operator made use of drones to map an aerial plan of trees within 60 metres of its tracks and thousands of trees have already been chopped down across the country, identifying “hotspots” where mature trees might cause problems in the future.

The RSPB warned this should only be taking place at this time of the year, nesting season for birds, if trains were at imminent risk.

One witness, Ray Walton, told the Guardian of the felling between Christchurch and Bournemouth: “It was total mass destruction, they obliterated every tree.

“These trees were mature 30-foot-high trees which have been there for 50 years in some cases and never caused a problem.”

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, tweeted:


However, thousands of tonnes of leaves fall on to the UK’s tracks every year and cause delays and Network Rail has defended its actions.

They said they have adhered to environmental regulation and requirements and that the use of drones helped them be more selective and that all the trees identified will not be chopped down.

“Managing vegetation is vital to running a safe and punctual railway,” a spokesman said.

“Getting everyone home safe every day is our top priority.”

 

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