Trust to review which trees to be felled over squirrel damage concerns

The trust overseeing a coppice in the Ironbridge Gorge says it will review which trees will be felled due to safety concerns over falling branches caused by squirrel damage.

Red marks were initially place on the trees
Red marks were initially place on the trees

Severn Gorge Countryside Trust (SGCT) made the decision at a meeting earlier this week after concern and opposition from some residents over its plans to fell up to 140 trees in the Dale Coppice.

In a statement the trust has apologised for marking trees to be felled before telling the public of its plans.

One of the criticisms of the proposal had been about the impact on the visual effect of the canopy over the Sabbath Walk route through the coppice.

The trust said the initial plans had been drawn up over concerns that squirrel-damaged branches could fall and injure people walking in the woods.

In its statement the trust said it will try to maintain the visual appearance of the walk, and added that it will now look at which trees need to be felled.

It said: "We will review and identify trees for retention, felling or tree surgery. We will aim to maintain, where possible, practical and economically viable, the visual appearance. The revised works to trees will be marked with tree tags."

The trust will also submit a planning application for the work, which residents will be able to comment on, and plans to tell residents of when the work will be carried out if approved.

It has also said that it will look to address areas where openings are created in the canopy.

In its statement it said: "The trust acknowledges that it could have communicated the proposed tree works better and had not appreciated the strength of feeling the marking of the trees would create within the local community. We apologise for this oversight."

However, it also outlined its legal responsibility to keep people safe.

It added: "The trust owes a duty of care under the Occupiers Liability Act and takes that responsibility very seriously to do everything it reasonably can to keep visitors safe."

In a comment on the plans going forward the trust said: "We will submit a Section 211 notice (Planning Permission). A plan and schedule of the revised proposed tree works will be included in the application. We welcome the views of the local community via the planning process – not direct to SGCT.

"The link to the planning application will be posted on the SGCT website – – and social media. No tree works will commence until planning permission is approved."

The trust said it would also be staging an event, planned for autumn next year, to discuss future management of its woodlands with residents.

It said: "A ‘Woodlands within Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site’ facilitated event will be arranged. This will enable the local community to put forward their views for consideration regarding future woodland management works throughout the Gorge."

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News