Wolston villagers campaign to halt rail company's 'devastation' of trees and wildlife - The Rugby Observer

Wolston villagers campaign to halt rail company's 'devastation' of trees and wildlife

Andy Morris 4th Oct, 2017   0

TREES and vegetation have been ‘razed to the ground’ near railway tracks in Wolston, say villagers who launched a campaign to protect wildlife in the area.

Network Rail say their ‘vegetation management works’ will help trains on the West Coast Main Line to run safely and on time by cutting down ‘problem trees’ or overhanging canopies which could fall onto the tracks.

But angry residents say the company has ‘annihilated the beautiful and natural environment’ and destroyed wildlife habitats.

Contractors began cutting down trees behind Bluemels Drive last Tuesday (September 26), but temporarily halted the following Friday after objections from residents and ward councillor Sally Bragg.

Resident Rebecca Burke‎ said: “They have already annihilated the opposite side of the track where the fishing pegs are on the river.

“The hundreds of rabbits that are normally seen across the park area have gone and haven’t been back as their habitat has gone.

“I don’t want to see this stunning landscape flattened and our glorious wildlife killed.”

Villager Davendra Patel, who launched a petition to stop any further work, said: “It is inconceivable that Network Rail can be allowed to continue butchering our lovely landscape without any matter of control being exercised on what they can and cannot do.

“Trees and natural vegetation have already been razed to the ground and destroyed the beautiful environment around Bluemels Park.

“We have established an action group to stop this wanton damage to our environment, and ensure Network Rail is forced to engage with residents.”

Residents have launched a campaign to protect remaining trees and wildlife around Bluemels Park. (s)

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said they had sent over 600 letters to lineside residents telling them about the work, held two public information events, and had meetings with the council and residents.

She said the work was essential to ensure the safety of passengers and railway workers, adding: “We understand cutting back vegetation can be an emotive issue for those who live nearby and have grown used to the trees or hedges. That’s why our vegetation management process involves a lot of planning, thought and consultation.

“A full ecological survey has taken place and work is carried out by a qualified arborist. We don’t simply remove everything.

“Our focus is the best way of cultivating a respectful balance between biodiversity and ensuring a safe, efficient railway.”

A meeting – between Network Rail, residents, Coun Bragg and tree specialists from both Network Rail and Rugby Borough Council – is due to take place tonight (Wednesday October 4).

Visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/urgent-stop-network-rail-devastating-wolstons to sign the petition.


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