Council will undertake ecology report after protest halts Shrewsbury tree felling

Work to remove a 150 year-old oak tree in Shrewsbury has been postponed by Shropshire Council while reports are carried out in response to bird nest claims.

The council has responding to claims regarding an oak tree on Featherbed Lane, Shrewsbury, which was just hours away from being chopped down to make way for new access to a school when a protest was staged on Monday.

As a result, contractors halted the work.

A protester sat in the tree in Featherbed Lane, Shrewsbury

The tree removal was scheduled as part of the expansion of Harlescott Junior School, where work has been ongoing since planning permission was granted in January.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists arrived on site Monday morning to prevent the felling and one protester remained suspended in a climbing harness attached to a branch to ensure reprieve for the tree was granted.

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In a statement, Shropshire Council said the work has been postponed, and due to the suggestion that nesting birds may have been identified in tree an ecology report will be undertaken.

A spokesperson from the council said: "In response to some claims circulating on social media yesterday regarding an oak tree on Featherbed Lane, Shrewsbury, we want to ensure that people have the facts regarding this matter.

Eggs in a nest in the tree

"As part of Shropshire Council’s major building project to expand and improve primary education in north Shrewsbury, there is an essential need to provide safe and appropriate new entrances to the school site. This work would require the removal of an oak tree along the highway boundary, which would be replaced with four new standard oak trees along with a wider landscaping scheme as part of the overall works.

"The council and its appointed contractor, Pave Aways Limited, have been open and engaging with the school and wider community at all stages of the planning and design of this project. The planning permission allows for the removal of the tree, which was clearly identified in the planning documents, and recent checks on nesting birds were carried out and proved negative.

"However, in the light of the suggestion that nesting birds may have been identified, the council will undertake the necessary ecology report to determine any nesting activity. As a result, the scheduled work to the tree will be postponed and determined at a later stage."

All relevant documents regarding this development can be accessed under the planning reference 20/04289/FUL at https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications

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