Kibworth resident hits out at National Rail for 'ecological demolition'
A Kibworth resident has described vegetation clearing around National Rail’s Midland Mainline between Market Harborough and Wigston as ‘ecological demolition’.
The resident, who did not want to be named, said those working to clear shrubs from either side of the railway line, running through Kibworth, are felling trees which are mature and healthy and some beyond the boundaries they are working to.
She said: “I understand why it needs to be done but they’re supposed to be clearing shrubs between five and six metres either side of the rail and it seems to go beyond that. It seems to be anything in their way including mature trees.
“Railways provide green corridors which should be protected as much as possible and so I’m surprised National Rail aren’t more selective and saving the trees they can. It looks like there’s no plans to replenish the trees or any policy on carbon offsetting. It’s just all black and white.”
She claimed one worker felled a tree outside the jurisdiction because he said it was leaning.
“They’re moving the goalposts,” she added.
She also said works should be carried out to avoid nesting season, which Natural England defines from February to August, and that the company was pollarding trees – a pruning method which aims to restrict growth – including some near her house where she says crows are nesting.
“I wish they would consider alter their policy, stagger it and do pollarding at a different time to felling and outside of nesting season. But it’s all just black and white.”
Unless a ‘Tree Protection Order’ is in place, or the vegetation falls in a conservation area, legal protection to trees fall short.
While The Wildlife and Countryside Act protects all active nests from being taken, damaged or destroyed, there are no laws regarding when tree felling can or cannot be done. The law can only be enforced when damage has been knowingly done to a tree which contains nests. Any incidents of felling trees containing nests can be reported to a wildlife crime officer on 101.
Local Green Party member, Darren Woodiwiss, said: "Given the current climate crisis that is unfolding around the world, we are saddened to see loss of any mature tree or natural habitat. The laws in this country give little, or no, enforceable protections to trees which allows developers and Network rail to clear trees as they see fit.“We need to give the natural world the legal rights it needs to allow life on Earth to flourish and continue to providing a habitable world for ourselves."
National Rail has not yet responded to the Mail’s request for comment.
Residents can find out information about the project or report concerns via the company’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or via Contact us - Network Rail.