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Trees felled by side of railway line in Grantham

Scores of mature trees have been chopped down in Grantham next to the East Coast Main Line railway.

The felling of the trees has prompted a number of complaints including a strongly worded letter from David Tibbett, a local member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who has described it as ‘tree carnage’.

But Network Rail says the trees have had to be cut down for safety reasons.

Mr Tibbett says the scene of the felling “provides a sight that will astonish and shock any right-minded individual.Every single tree and I mean 100 plus trees, have been felled and continue to be cut down today”.

Mr Tibbett added: “What about the birds that have built their nests and probably have eggs by now?What about the removal of oxygen-producing trees next to a large polluter, that being diesel trains?”

Mr Tibbett added: “The trees concerned are mature and if there is a so-called fire risk they could perhaps be thinned out, not a wasteland made of the railway banks.

“Who thought every tree had to be removed and who authorised such action? Even if authorisation has been obtained why is the felling being done in springtime?”

Trees have been felled by the East Coast Main Line in Grantham. (7790829)
Trees have been felled by the East Coast Main Line in Grantham. (7790829)

Network Rail says it has done the work to stop trees and leaves getting on the line which can be dangerous or cause delays for trains and passengers.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Network Rail is constantly balancing the needs of the environment and those who live by the railway with the needs and safety of the 4.6 million people who use and rely on our railways every day.

“Work has been taking place to manage vegetation on the East Coast Main Line near Grantham. This work is vital; it can help prevent leaves falling on the line, stop trees falling onto the railway and stop vegetation obscuring signals, all of which can cause delays.

“In 2017, we recorded over 400 incidents of trains colliding with fallen trees and another 1,000 where they caused delays to services, costing the industry over £100m.

“As a result, we have well thought out standards and policies in place that have been developed over many years with the help of experts that we believe strike the right balance and maintain a safe and biodiverse line side.”

Network Rail has posted a video on how leaves on the line can cause delays. You can see it at www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/delays-explained/leaves/

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