ANGRY residents have teamed up with activists from Extinction Rebellion in a bid to save a wildlife-rich area in Orford from development.
Local resident Julie Carney contacted the group after bulldozers started to clear a piece of land next to where she lives on Orford Road after trees containing bird’s nests were felled.
Now they are urgently seeking Tree Preservation Orders from Warrington Borough Council.
Julie says she had received a letter the previous day from Newcombe Warrington Land Investments Ltd saying they would be visiting the site to carry out exploratory works.
But work had already started felling trees which local residents say contained nesting birds.
Julie immediately reported it to the Cheshire Police’s Rural Crime Team.
She was shocked to find that no environmental assessments had taken place prior to the work starting, and planning permission has not been granted.
The densely wooded area is rich in wildlife, with foxes, mink, bats, newts, and a host of bird species, but until a full environmental assessment has taken place they cannot determine if
protected species are present, though volunteers have discovered strong evidence of badger activity.
Julie said: “Our concerns as residents are the trees and wildlife at stake. Warrington is a heavily populated town where more and more green space is being used to build more and more
houses and Warrington council do not appear to be showing any consideration or any respect to residents and are most definitely not helping towards climate change.”
Julie and her husband, Chris, have lived in the area for nearly 21 years and love being surrounded by the trees and fauna. She immediately spoke to neighbours about trying to
save the woodland, but also felt help from the wider Warrington area would be useful so contacted the local Extinction Rebellion group.
XR Warrington then posted about the destruction on their facebook page and the next day, volunteers were there to protect the trees from the bulldozers. As it turned out, there was no
more activity, though later that day a metal fence was erected around the cleared area.
“It’s something we’re seeing across the town,’ said Paul Sheeky, spokesperson for the group.
“The development companies try and clear the land before environmental assessments can take place, so they can then claim there’s no protected wildlife there as they’ve already cleared it.
“We’ve had reports of badger setts being disturbed in the same way in Lymm too. We’d love
Warrington-Worldwide readers to get in touch if this happens in their area. We need to work together to stop this.”
Further investigation by Julie discovered that the land has been sold by the council to Newcombe Warrington Land Investments Ltd, a company incorporated earlier this year.
Julie would now like people to email Simon Twigg at the council (firstname.lastname@example.org) and request that TPO’s be applied to all the trees in the area until a full environmental assessment has taken place and local people are given a say in what happens to their woodland.
She added: “The government and local councils are supposed to be committed to helping stop climate change and preserving our environment, yet here they are selling off a huge area of very
well established wooded area surrounding where so many people live.”
Her husband Chris is equally appalled, simply saying, “I’m fuming. It’s disgusting that at a time of climate and ecological emergency, when the extinction rate isbetween 10 and 100 times above normal, Warrington Borough Council see fit to sell off this wild-life rich land to developers for a quick profit. And all without any consultation with local people!”
Paul from XR Warrington added.”Trees are an important carbon sink and help reduce pollution from local roads, helping the overall health of residents.”
A Warrington Borough Council spokesperson said: “We have been asked to consider the implementation of a Tree Preservation Order at this location. Arrangements have been made for an officer to carry out an assessment of the site.”
Further information regarding Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-preservation-orders-and-trees-in-conservation-areas