Peace breaks out over Wanstead trees

Two weeks ago, we reported how Wansteadium reader Pete Daly was starting a campaign against the planned felling of 11 horse chestnut trees on St Mary’s Avenue. Pete now writes:

I met with Peter Marshall on Saturday morning. Peter is (I believe) the chief Arboriculturalist at Redbridge. Peter provided me with a copy of his report on the trees in the avenue. Each tree has been examined and classified by age and general condition. We walked the entire length of the avenue stopping at each condemned tree in turn and Peter described and showed me in great detail why each tree needed to be felled. I have to admit that the condemned trees are in a very poor state and I can understand the council’s concerns. As Peter said if they are aware that a tree is in a poor state and subsequently a part of the tree falls on something or someone then the council are liable. Peter did say that there were a number of trees that were on the borderline but they had been reprieved to limit the impact on the appearance of St Mary’s Avenue.
There was much that Peter told me that I had not previously appreciated, most significant of all was that all trees have a natural lifespan (obvious when you think about it) and that the average lifespan of a white Horse Chestnut is 100 – 150 years. Most of the trees in the Avenue are in that age range.
Another thing that Peter told me was that the trees were originally planted too close together resulting in some trees being out competed for moisture, nutrients and light by other, lager, tress resulting in smaller, weaker more disease prone trees.
Of course there is the problem of the leaf boring moth which has been attacking the trees for some years now contributing to the general poor condition of some of the trees.
When everything is taken into account I do not believe that Redbridge Council are overreacting to the problem. I do not believe that this is a case of Health and Safety gone mad.
The work to fell the trees has been postponed until all the concerns that have been raised by both the public and local councillors have been addressed. Once the trees have been felled Peter plans to consult with all interested parties on what trees will be planted to replace those that have been removed. As Peter said there is little point just replacing the trees with more white horse chestnuts as the leaf boring moth will severely impact on their growth.
Peter is a real tree enthusiast. It was good of him to spend so much of his time on a Saturday morning talking to me. He actually said that he likes people like me who care about the trees. Mostly he gets requests from people who want trees cut down because they are dropping sap in their Cars!
I will be sad to see the trees go but at least I have challenged the decision and now fully understand the reasoning behind the decision.
Thank you for your coverage of my brief campaign.


2 thoughts on “Peace breaks out over Wanstead trees”

  1. Thank you Pete for your campaign and your time. I live in St Marys Avenue and it will be a very sad day indeed when these trees are cut down.

  2. Pete

    Many thanks for your time on this issue and explaining it fully and given your comments it seems they must be felled.
    Also thanks to Peter Marshall

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