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Residents appalled as contractors coppice trees in Beltinge

The lopped trees along the footpath between Glenbervie Drive and Manor Road, Beltinge. Picture:Chris Davey
The lopped trees along the footpath between Glenbervie Drive and Manor Road, Beltinge. Picture:Chris Davey

by Adam Williams


Beltinge residents have voiced their disapproval after contractors moved in to cut back trees on a woodland path.

Dozens of trees were coppiced last week on the edge of Reculver Countryside Park on a footpath between Glenbervie Drive and Manor Road, work the city council says will protect the woodland for future generations.

But, despite the reassurances from the council’s countryside department, the Gazette received numerous calls from shocked and appalled neighbours.

Contractors were on site at the end of last week, but Joanna Elliot, from Glenbervie Drive, was furious to see the work going ahead without warning.

She said: "I contacted the council straight away and they told me approval had been given to coppice trees along the path.

"But, in some cases, the trees have been cut down to the roots in front of one person’s house. It’s a huge shame, as there’s been no sign this was going to happen.

"They’ve chopped down trees on a relatively new path, one that’s well used by people in the area and valued as a great community asset.

"It just doesn’t make sense at all to me and I’ve spoken to other people who are less than impressed."

City council spokesman Rob Davies apologised for the lack of notification, but stressed the work will safeguard the woodland for decades to come.

He said: "We understand residents’ concerns about the lack of advance warning and information posters are now on site.

"Coppicing is a traditional, sustainable tree management practice which allows stems to grow back from the base of the tree, which we also carry out to improve value for wildlife in the protected woodlands in the Blean and Larkey Valley Wood.

"It will allow light to come in and is good for ground flora such as wood anemones and bluebells.

"Then, as the trees regenerate as multi-stemmed, it is good habitat, firstly for ground nesting birds, then fruiting shrubs and trees that provide food for other woodland birds and mammals including dormice.

"We’ve chosen to coppice this area because it will provide variation along the pathway and a varied habitat for wildlife.

"It will also prevent the ad hoc, unsafe and unauthorised topping of trees by residents, and prevent the elms from being affected by Dutch Elm Disease.

"A Kent Wildlife Trust warden with expertise in coppicing has visited the site and confirmed the work has been carried out exactly as expected."

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