We are aware that a number of beautiful riverside trees have been felled at Oxnead and have received complaints about it. We are making enquiries in to this attack on the landscape and will publish more information when it is to hand. On the face of it this is unacceptable but there may be good reasons for it that we are currently unaware of and must keep an open mind until the facts are known.
The loss of these trees has changed the nature of the Oxnead stretch of the river and not for the better but it has happened and we need to understand why. We also need to ensure, as far as possible, that there are no more trees felled immediately alongside the river unless there is good reason. It would be helpful to establish what plans, if any, exist to re-plant this stretch although no matter what efforts are made it will take many years to replace the maturity level of the trees now gone. We regret that we had no prior knowledge of this operation as we would have made strong representations had we been told in advance although we are not saying that Landowners need to consult us on every decision – we do think this one should have come with prior warning. This represents a challenge to us for the future. We must hope that some kind of restitution is made by, at the very least, re-planting in the same location.
Chairman of of the BNCT, Stuart Wilson, said “we cannot condemn outright until the full facts are known although on the face of it this is an attack on a much enjoyed beautiful place however we will keep an open mind whilst making our enquiries”.
Since writing the above we have received some advice from a local resident with a keen interest in and a working knowledge of the environment; it is worth reading as it reinforces the view that we need to establish the facts before condemning the action outright.
“Felling of Poplar trees can appear to be fairly drastic, but they have reached the end of their natural period – many of them have already been blown over in recent years (a sure sign). I suspect that the felling is part of a conservation scheme. These usually include a replanting programme, so this is probably creative work rather than vandalism. The scale of poplar trees is really out of proportion to the local scene, we have become used to them but if they are to be replaced with native species that must be applauded.
So I think we must be careful not to jump to early conclusions. We may be seeing the replacement of an industrial crop from the 1970′s with something more in keeping with the landscape.”
UPDATE (9th April) : We understand that this area was indeed planted as a cash crop but the trees had been allowed to go on beyond their normal felling date and that some were becoming unstable and therefore a danger in a high wind. They will be replaced by a mixture of indiginous trees and hedgerow. This does impact negatively on the visual landscape – there’s no getting away from that but as it’s happened it is gratifying to know that there are plans to re-plant in a way that will produce a new and hopefully equally beautiful, if different, view.
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