Discussion Forum

Stop Network Rail Tree Felling

Posted by Chillies
Saturday, January 21, 2006

Networkrail is responsible for a devastating assault on the countryside which has left shocked and tearful residents nationwide gazing at vast stretches of seemingly Agent Oranged earth. Fond of railway embankments? Ever thought about them? Well, now?s the time to start. Railway embankments allow trees, vegetation and wildlife to flourish. On top of that, they provide natural cover against the pollution and noise caused by trains. Or, at least, they did, until Network Rail came up with an ingenious new solution to the age-old problem of leaves on the line. They decided to eliminate the trees. Official policy, in fact, is to eradicate all trees within 5 metres (15 foot) of the Railway line. The issue of railway safety is obviously serious but the amount of land being cleared is totally unnecessary.

In fact this has already been done to within 25 metres in other areas despite Network Rail's initial claims:

"I just feel we have been lied to," he said. "They have cut down every single tree right to the end of the gardens - about 25 metres depth - and to a length of around 170 metres.

See this webpage

This policy has already begun and is being implemented now.

Please complain to Network Rail:

Network Rail's National Helpline can be contacted on:
08457 11 41 41. This number is manned 24 hours a day.

Network Rail
40 Melton Street

tel: 020 7557 8000
fax: 020 7557 9000

Posted by Matt
Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Network Rail and their contractors also have an extremely bad and totally unecessary habit of clearcutting hedgerows during the bird nestng season, therefore basically chopping up nests full of chicks. Again, some vegetation control is clearly needed, but this work could be scheduled during the winter months with a little thought (and pressure?) applied.

Posted by Peter Ford
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lets put things into perspective. A few trees and bushes being chopped back at the edge of the railway is not going to wipe out any endangered species.

A railway line is required for trains to run on. If bushes need clipping back to ensure safety then so be it. I would rather a nest of chicks is destroyed than a packed train of men women and children.

There are plenty of wildlife sancturies across the country and plenty of places for wildlife to prosper, unfortunately due to the modern world we live in a railway line is not going to be that type of place.

Lets just say we don't maintain the railways roads or airports for the sake of the poor wildlife where would we be then?

A bit of common sense would not go a miss on this issue.

Posted by John Morrison
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Railway lines have always supported a larger variety of plant species than common sense might suggest: something to do with the various pollutants created by the trains, I think. So we really can think of them as 'wildlife corridors'. Overhanging foliage can be trimmed once the bird nesting season is over; it's shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by Matt
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just to re-iterate what I previously said - clearly vegetation needs controlling to make the railways safe. This is not in dispute.

No-one is suggesting the lives of "..men, women and children" are threatened by allowing the un-checked spread of undergrowth onto the railway lines. What would be helpful is if Network Rail scheduled any non-emergency routine maintainance outside of the few months when birds are nesting. There is no reason whatsoever why this can't be done. In fact, they themselves have set this as a goal, but failed to deliver on it. And many red and amber list birds do use these areas, rightly or wrongly, to breed in.

Posted by Andy M
Thursday, February 2, 2006

One beneficial aspect of managing tree growth (mainly birch and sycamore)is that it will open up the canopy of the banks and encourage ground flora which could be just as valuable, or more so, than the tree cover itself.

Posted by Con Serned
Friday, February 3, 2006

As I live only 20ft from the Railway line I feel able to comment on this subject.

We have been contacting Railtrack for the last 10 years about the trees and shrubs along the embankment. Not to totally desimate them, as we have numerous birds living outside our window, from owls to woodpeckers. We have been asking for them to be managed properly, to keep them to a manageable height, not to be hacked down and expose us to more noise. But as usual Railtrack (someone in an office who has never set foot near our area) takes the desision. I wonder if it's the same person who demolished the rustic wooden fence in favour of the eyesore of green mesh (for children on the line), but they forgot to put it where the children actually have access to it.

Posted by Cindy R
Monday, May 8, 2006

It has happened at our station in Oxshott. Network Rail totally decimated some gorgous huge pine trees on one side of the track.

They have contacted me because they want to decimate the trees and bushes on my side of the track. I am all for removing the dead trees, but I have no intention of allowing them to come onto my property and cut down my hedges and so forth.

I honestly think that the leaf issue is just an excuse- network rail are saving a ton of money by not having to hire gardening contractors each year to trim bushes and trees to keep them sightly.

Posted by Andy Macintosh
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Seen this?

BBC News issue

Tree clearance has always been a ongoing maintenance concern for rail companies, and yes they have to minimise costs amd tackle the 'leaf' issue so they could well be killing two birds with one stone..or saw.

Posted by Roger Heath
Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Netwok Rails actions in clearing its own land of trees, shrubs etc is a cause of concern. They will always play the 'safety' card to justify their actions, (if I'm not mistaken, similar excuses has been made by dictators, look at Zimbabwe,) the action to remove the vegitation and trees is purely financial.

If it was a safety issue then why has this action taken so long to be done. I can comment through experience. My land is bordered by a provincial line.

Without warning Network Rails contractors, Hammonds Ltd, worked through the weekend (24hr days) and cut down substansial Oaks, Sycamoure, Ash and other trees in a ten metre corridor of the rail line. In my instance, they entered my own land illegally, by climbing over their own fence, and cut down 37 of my own trees, including 150 year old Oaks and Sycamoures.

A bat colony that had existed for over 23 years (our occupancy of this property) has disapeared, our belief was that they were roosting in our trees. However Network Rails contractors, Hammonds Ltd, removed all our trees and shredded the remaining evidence. Wildlife along this stretch of rail line and including our property were home to kingfishers, tawny and barn owls, herons,green woodpeckers and this time of year cookoos to name a few.

In living history there has never been an incident involving safety to trains or passengers caused by vegitation or trees along this stretch of rail line, the only culprit that have caused concern to the Trains has been children,teenagers and adults, who incidendaly have been encouraged to use the line to tresspass more because of Networks action in clearing the bushes.

I have to pursue my own case at my own expense, Network rail uses tax payers money to do their dirty work, its time that as a nation we say 'no' to government agencies dictating what they want without consulting the people.

Posted by Andrew Hall
Wednesday, June 7, 2006

I'm not sure that it is an entirely fair argument to equate Network Rail to the regime in Zimbabwe. A touch of the 'straw man' there, I suspect.

Neither am I convinced that spending what must amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds has anything to do with making money. Paying contractors to clear lineside foliage is not exactly a profit making venture.

I think Network rail is one of the many, many organisations who have a 'statutory right of entry' onto anyone's private property. In other words, they can't enter your land ilegally.

I'd be interested to know what type of bats roost in trees - most round here need lofts, attics, roof space, caves, etc. And what on earth are herons and kingfishers doing milling around railway lines when they ought to be concentrating on waterways? Perhap removing lineside vegetation might encourage them to seek more appropriate habitatsnear water. The same goes for owls, too.

OK I'm being slightly facetious. But railways are businesses, not nature reserves. They have to comply with statutory regulations from Westminster and Brussels. If you don't like what they're doing, perhaps you should be addressing your concerns to the politicians.

And besides, it's actually rather nice to make a train journey and actually be able to look out at scenery, rather than having your view almost totally obscured by unnecessary trees.

Posted by Dave
Saturday, June 10, 2006

Just to inject a little fact into this debate: all bat species in the UK use trees to roost or nest in at some time. The go under the bark, or inside hollow branches/holes. Bats have been native to Britain for tens of thousands of years. Lofts however, are a little newer, when you think about it....

Also, herons make their nests in trees in colonies. However, I can't claim kingfishers do the same.

And finally, who would want to ruin a perfectly good view of The Countryside by putting trees in the way??? Tut.