The Wokingham Paper

Council grants permission to destroy more than 50 trees

Last week, approval was granted to chop down more than 50 trees.

THE DESTRUCTION of wildlife across the borough provided a point of contention at last week’s planning meeting, when approval was granted to fell trees across numerous sites.

The decision was made to chop down 53 existing trees at Winnersh Triangle, and plant 25 in their place.

Cllr Gary Cowan spoke out against the plans. 

He said: “I think we’re playing a very dangerous game. I think we’re lying to the public if we say we will support the climate emergency and [planting] trees when we go and do something as brutal and as ruthless as this and take all these trees out.

“I don’t think it is necessary and I’ll certainly be objecting to this. I support Winnersh Triangle, I support the industrial area, but not at the expense of cutting down all these trees”

“We make the public know very clearly that we are talk about climate emergency but we don’t give a stuff about it.”

During the meeting, two other applications — at Toutley Depot, Wokingham and Hogwood Farm, Finchampstead — approved the removal of trees.

But the number to be removed was unclear. 

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Greogor Murray, executive member for climate emergency, told The Wokingham Paper: “We recognised when we declared Climate Emergency that it would change many processes and ways of working within the council. 

“Putting something this important front and centre in everything we do is no small undertaking and we are determined to make sure that we do this properly not just quickly.

“That means that we have to formally change our planning policy documents, like the Local Plan and the Borough Design Guide to reflect our Climate Emergency. 

“Doing that means going through consultations and working through a lot of fine details rather than just making sweeping policy changes without properly working them through.

“Cutting down healthy trees is always regrettable. I am sad that trees are being cut down and regret that we currently aren’t able to remove and relocate them.

“I am disappointed that we aren’t currently able to replace trees in a like for like basis and that mature trees are replaced with saplings. 

“To be able to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 we have to make each action very deliberately and properly. 

“That means ensuring that everything we do is practical, achievable and sustainable. Making lasting changes to our processes, working documents and policies is the way we deliver the best for our community in the long run.”

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