“Tory vandalism”: Plymouth chainsaw massacre row continues

The leadership of Plymouth City Council is coming under increasing pressure after instructing contractors to fell more than a hundred trees in Armada Way.

Environmentalist Chris Packham branded it “despicable vandalism.”

Paul Nero www.radioexe.co.uk

Council leader Richard Bingley issued an ‘executive order’ with little publicity on Tuesday, not long after a public consultation over the controversial plans ended.

The council wants to regenerate the city centre and plans to replace the felled trees with new semi-mature ones. Pit is spending £12.7 million to revamp Armada Way, with some of the money coming from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund for walking and cycling.

Last month, a protest group called Save the Trees of Armada Way, or Straw, got a stay of execution, but soon after that ended, the felling began. Security guards blocked off the highway once darkness fell, and the chainsaws went into action.

The council says it was best to chop the trees down at night for health and safety reasons. 

Save the Trees got a High Court injunction, which was served on contractors at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, but only 15 trees were saved.

At 1am the local campaign to save the trees, Straw, obtained an injunction that halted the felling and saved 15 trees. They vow to continue their fight.

Alison White, of Straw said the council has “needlessly chopped down healthy mature trees. The people of Plymouth could not have made their views clearer that they were against this. It is a disgrace.”

Luke Pollard, the Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “It’s a scene of environmental devastation and utter council vandalism.

“I’m appalled at the actions of the Tory council. Sad day for our city.”

The Woodland Trust said it was “appalled” at the use of “secretive night-time operations”. “We hoped after direct conversations with Plymouth City Council that a far higher proportion of trees could have been retained,” they said.

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