Cambridge City Council is about to fell a series of trees on Vicar’s brook, the stream which runs from Brooklands Avenue across the green areas called “New Bit” and “Coe Fen” and on to the river Cam.
A notice at the site states:
Cambridge City Council manages trees on the Parks and Open Spaces on a cyclical basis. The trees on this space have been inspected by a competent and qualified arboriculturalist and work is proposed.
Reason for work:
The trees along the brook are to be managed. The Environment Agency requires that the brook and its banks are kept clear of vegetation so that flow is not impeded at times of flash flooding.
All fallen trees will be cleared from the brook
All trees and saplings growing in the brook will be removed
All trees and saplings growing on the sides of the brook will be removed
Selected trees and saplings on the banks, that are dying, will be removed to prevent their failure into the brook
All the trees and saplings to be removed or pruned are marked with tape and paint.
While the notices suggests that objections or representations ought be made in writing to the council’s Director of Environment and Planning or by email to kenny dot mcgregor at cambridge dot gov dot uk by the 10th of April some people have responded by writing on the notice itsself.
Responses on the notice:
- Leave trees alone
- Don’t mess with the NATURAL – FOOLS
- This is avoidable and evil!
- Can’t you leave any nature natural?
I believe and hope that the statement on the notice saying that “all trees and saplings growing on the sides of the brook will be removed” is an error, and some of the more established trees will be left. I can see that a number of substantial trees are not marked with tape even though they are growing in the brook or on the sides. Within the last couple of weeks the City Council have even planted new saplings on the sides and banks of the brook, closer than some trees which are marked to go, it would be crazy if they were to fell those.
I hope that the statement that only those trees marked with tape and paint are to go takes precedence over the other descriptions of which trees are to go. I also expect that the notice ought read “Tape or Paint” as there are very few tress marked with both.
I do not believe all the trees and saplings on the banks which are marked with tape are dying.
I agree the brook ought be clear – it has to flow otherwise it risks flooding, however some minor obstructions are not a major problem. I’d have thought that if all our drainage ditches in and around the city were perfect concrete channels we’d have a much bigger problem with flash flooding, it is a good thing that the brooks, streams and ditches take up some water in floods.
While the environment of the brook is shaped by man, it does have a natural feel.
I recall tape being on various trees on the brook for many months, however I only saw the notice today. I do not know if councillors have been told of the proposed works, but there has been no public statement.
If anyone has, or does, formally object then it is likely the final decision will be made by an elected councillor (or a committee of councillors). I wonder if the timing of this notice is intended to sneak this work in before a new democratic decision making process for trees on the city council’s green spaces comes in.
A website recording the state of the brook in 2005 states that its depth varied between 10-30cm due to minor dams made of sticks etc. There is a suggestion that the presence of trees creates a darker area where other, vegetation, which might be more likely to block the brook in a flood cannot grow. Felling trees and adding light might result in a situation which needs more maintenance than what we have now.
Interestingly that report also says native crayfish were recorded in the western section of the brook in the 1960s.