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Leigh campaigners fight “avoidable tree removals”

Leigh campaigners fight “avoidable tree removals”

LEIGH campaigners are highlighting what they have called “unnecessary and reckless tree removal”  in Leigh.

The South East Essex Green Party has demanded talks with the council to question the scheduled axing of “perfectly healthy trees”, following the appearance of a removal notice on a tree in Southsea Avenue.

Richard Longstaff, Green Party candidate for Leigh, said: “Concerned residents have contacted the Green Party following the arrival of the notices, with many residents rightly questioning on what grounds the trees are being removed.

“Upon investigation, the council has used the blanket justification of “incompatible with highways works” for almost every planned removal; admitting by default that the trees are otherwise perfectly healthy.”

The council state that the base of the tree in Southsea Avenue is restricting the use of the footpath. However, the Green Party disputes this claim, blaming “negligence” instead.

Mr Longstaff continued: “It is our view that these trees are being earmarked for destruction as a consequence of the council’s poor management and due to zero oversight or scrutiny of the tree removal process.”

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible environment, culture, tourism, strongly refuted these claims. She said: “I can categorically say that the council does not have a ‘blanket highways’ reason for removing trees, this is a complete fabrication!

“We will always look to keep trees and only remove them when absolutely necessary, for example, where the trees are diseased, causing damage to the footpath or where the width and damage caused means pedestrians have to walk in the road, which is an obvious safety concern.

“I am in the process of setting up a meeting with Mr Longstaff, so we can understand each other’s positions better and so we can explain again how decisions are made.

“I love trees and green spaces and I also care about people’s safety. I don’t want people tripping over roots or cracked pavements, I want to ensure pushchairs and mobility scooters have enough room to pass by safely.

“The council is fully committed to planting more trees each year and our tree policy outlines how we are working towards increasing the city’s tree canopy.”

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