Tree Pruning Programme Branded 'Vandalism'

Residents feel local Limes and Planes have been 'butchered'

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Both Hounslow and Ealing Council work on Chiswick's street trees has been branded 'vandalism' by residents who feel some trees have been 'butchered'.

The street trees are predominantly London Planes and, as per the current tree strategy, forest trees such as 'Limes' and 'Planes' are pruned on a three year cycle.

"We have to prioritise pruning of Plane trees during winter and before they come into leaf, due to health and safety risks arising when Plane trees are in leaf," a Council spokesman told

"The short, stiff hairs shed by the young leaves and dispersing seeds are an irritant if breathed in, and can exacerbate breathing difficulties. This is harmful to the operatives and we would not want to cause any risk to members of the public and residents by pruning when Plane trees are in leaf."

But residents feel the pruning or pollarding as it's known is extreme. "It saddens me that the tree surgeons are pruning back hard the trees in my neighbourhood, just as they've come into leaf and blosssom. These aren't large trees that are a danger to the public so I wonder the justification? Is it necessary?" questioned one resident.

"I notice that on Chiswick Back Common, Hounslow Council are replacing all the poplars which are coming to the end of their life with Plane trees," said another. "To begin with do you see any birds nesting in the Plane trees - no but the poplars are full of small birds like starlings, tits, robins, blackbirds, etc.

"The leaves of the Plane trees are dreadful in the Autumn as they do not break down, not good on the compost front and drift into huge pile."

Many have complained to their relevant Council and are urging other residents who feel strongly about the issue to do the same and join in the debate on the forum.

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April 20, 2011