Felling of 400-year-old tree as part of £1bn power cable scheme is 'scandalous'

Felling of 400-year-old tree as part of £1bn power cable scheme is 'scandalous'

Valerie and Gerard Moore, and Ray and Catherine Renfre with the felled tree in Little Neston

The 400-year-old oak tree which has been cut down in Little Neston.

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

THE felling of a 400-year-old oak tree to make way for a £1bn power cable has been dubbed “scandalous” by Little Neston residents who feel those behind the scheme are going back on their word.

Residents have hit out at the power companies behind the ‘Western Link’ scheme after a number of trees were cut down as part of the work.

The Western Link scheme will see a high voltage main cable laid underground through Wirral and across to Connah’s Quay.

It will help bring renewable energy from Scotland to homes and business in England and Wales.

The laying of the cable, which began last April, is expected to be completed by December 2015 but residents who live close to a stretch of the cable in Little Neston fear the scheme is putting trees at risk.

Resident Gerard Moore told the Globe: “It is just scandalous.

“Western Link held a number of public consultations throughout Wirral during the last 18 months and was always keen to point out their supposedly caring attitude towards environmental and ecological issues along the proposed cable route that they wished to construct through Wirral."

Wirral Globe:
Little Neston resident Gerard Moore said the felling of a 400-year-old oak tree is "unforgiveable".

Mr Moore added: “They went to particular lengths to assure people that the route would avoid trees, go around them, or if all else failed, they would use a technique called directional drilling to go underneath them.

“Now in Little Neston, when confronted by a number of trees, they have simply resorted to the use of the chainsaw.”

A spokesman for National Grid, who has teamed up with Scottish Power to carry out the Western Link project, said contractors Prysmian will alter the path of the cable to avoid trees where possible but said such a procedure is not feasible in every case.

Wirral Globe:
The tree, which is estimated to be around 400-years-old, has been felled to make way for the £1bn Western Link cable.

Mr Moore said several trees have been felled on the bridle path that runs between Lees Lane and Cuckoo Lane, one of which is an oak tree he estimates to be up to 400-years-old.

He added: “On the Wirral Way itself several other younger but mature trees have also been felled.

“They said they would plant six more to replace them but none of us will be around in 400 years to see them reach maturity.”

Although residents appreciate the cable is of national importance, Mr Moore said the loss of the tree is “unforgiveable”.

“The assurances given months ago regarding protecting trees along the route now seem to be for nothing and the cheapest option of the chainsaw has been chosen.”

A spokesman for National Grid said: “During our discussions with local people prior to starting work on the project, we said that we would avoid removing mature trees as far as possible.

“Where we need to remove a tree, as in the case of the oak tree at Little Neston, they will seek the landowner’s permission to plant three more trees to replace it.

“We understand that the local community places great value on the landscape and the trees within it and we would assure people that we will work with our contractors to minimise the number of trees removed during the cabling work.”

Comments (14)

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11:40am Mon 17 Mar 14

bigfoot says...

No doubt they will have sold the timber on for a'nice price'
No doubt they will have sold the timber on for a'nice price' bigfoot
  • Score: 9

12:06pm Mon 17 Mar 14

ballacrain says...

Their pretty words mean nothing where money is concerned.
Their pretty words mean nothing where money is concerned. ballacrain
  • Score: 15

12:44pm Mon 17 Mar 14

David Scott says...

It was common sense (and 'greener') to bring the cable up the Dee Estuary after bringing it down the Irish Sea from Scotland, but EU marine habitat directives trump everything it seems. A ban on dredging nearly stopped Airbus wing manufacturing at Broughton as I recall, before John Prescott was forced to get involved at the last minute.
It was common sense (and 'greener') to bring the cable up the Dee Estuary after bringing it down the Irish Sea from Scotland, but EU marine habitat directives trump everything it seems. A ban on dredging nearly stopped Airbus wing manufacturing at Broughton as I recall, before John Prescott was forced to get involved at the last minute. [I know the cable company involved put forward various unconvincing other explanations as to why they had to dig a trench the full length of the Wirral peninsula...] David Scott
  • Score: 10

12:47pm Mon 17 Mar 14

David Scott says...

Just to say, I know various other reasons were cited by the cable company as to why the Dee route wasn't acceptable. Can't say they were convincing.
Just to say, I know various other reasons were cited by the cable company as to why the Dee route wasn't acceptable. Can't say they were convincing. David Scott
  • Score: 8

12:55pm Mon 17 Mar 14

WirralAl says...

What a load of crap these companies come out with.

The cable could of been done via many more sensible routes and again they prove that they do not really give a dam about the local area they have a job to do and just do what they want.

I am sure the cable could of followed many paths such as at the side of the train line which runs to the same destination.

The council should be keeping an eye on them!
What a load of crap these companies come out with. The cable could of been done via many more sensible routes and again they prove that they do not really give a dam about the local area they have a job to do and just do what they want. I am sure the cable could of followed many paths such as at the side of the train line which runs to the same destination. The council should be keeping an eye on them! WirralAl
  • Score: 11

1:10pm Mon 17 Mar 14

JohnON says...

David Scott wrote:
Just to say, I know various other reasons were cited by the cable company as to why the Dee route wasn't acceptable. Can't say they were convincing.
Perhaps the main reason was because they were already aware of the Underground Coal Gasification that's received the go-ahead under the Dee Estuary (aka setting fire to the coal seams underground).
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: Just to say, I know various other reasons were cited by the cable company as to why the Dee route wasn't acceptable. Can't say they were convincing.[/p][/quote]Perhaps the main reason was because they were already aware of the Underground Coal Gasification that's received the go-ahead under the Dee Estuary (aka setting fire to the coal seams underground). JohnON
  • Score: 2

1:27pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Growl Tiger says...

Although Neston, Little Ness, Burton and Willaston are lucky to be outside WMBC I fear their location is peripheral to leafy Cheshire and therefore when it comes to environmental issues they are somewhat forgotten by Cheshire Council whilst Wirral Council couldn’t care less about South Wirral as there are no votes in it. The area around Cuckoo Lane is being destroyed one way or another and the massacre of this ancient tree is an act of vandalism.

Splitting Wirral between different councils took away people power for The Peninsula as a whole.
Although Neston, Little Ness, Burton and Willaston are lucky to be outside WMBC I fear their location is peripheral to leafy Cheshire and therefore when it comes to environmental issues they are somewhat forgotten by Cheshire Council whilst Wirral Council couldn’t care less about South Wirral as there are no votes in it. The area around Cuckoo Lane is being destroyed one way or another and the massacre of this ancient tree is an act of vandalism. Splitting Wirral between different councils took away people power for The Peninsula as a whole. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 13

5:19pm Mon 17 Mar 14

jeselis says...

There is always an alternative to those who give a ****, and clearly this company do not. The destruction of this tree is tantamount to criminal! 400 years old, if it was a building it would have been protected and the company forced to seek alternative plans. So their replacing the tree? Yeah like planting 6 new trees (saplings no doubt) really appeases the felling. This is disgraceful and fines should at the very least be imposed, of course they wont, all bedfellows together. Heartbreaking loss of a piece of ancient Wirral landscape, not to mention home to wildlife. Makes my blood boil, if its not random thoughtless householders felling healthy trees for no valid reason, its industry, all altering the environment, and not for the better.
There is always an alternative to those who give a ****, and clearly this company do not. The destruction of this tree is tantamount to criminal! 400 years old, if it was a building it would have been protected and the company forced to seek alternative plans. So their replacing the tree? Yeah like planting 6 new trees (saplings no doubt) really appeases the felling. This is disgraceful and fines should at the very least be imposed, of course they wont, all bedfellows together. Heartbreaking loss of a piece of ancient Wirral landscape, not to mention home to wildlife. Makes my blood boil, if its not random thoughtless householders felling healthy trees for no valid reason, its industry, all altering the environment, and not for the better. jeselis
  • Score: 21

12:06am Tue 18 Mar 14

PaulCa says...

This company's offer to plant an acorn as some sort of "compensation" is a complete insult.

It reminds me of Wirral Council's initial offer to "reimburse" only HALF the money they stole from learning disabled people's bank accounts not long back.

Even then, the money when it eventually arrived was treated as "windfalls" by the DWP and the poor people were clobbered twice.

Our institutions really are all heart aren't they? If they're not blasting and gouging a path of destruction through our beloved countryside, they're nicking money, and trampling on citizens' hopes and dreams elsewhere.
This company's offer to plant an acorn as some sort of "compensation" is a complete insult. It reminds me of Wirral Council's initial offer to "reimburse" only HALF the money they stole from learning disabled people's bank accounts not long back. Even then, the money when it eventually arrived was treated as "windfalls" by the DWP and the poor people were clobbered twice. Our institutions really are all heart aren't they? If they're not blasting and gouging a path of destruction through our beloved countryside, they're nicking money, and trampling on citizens' hopes and dreams elsewhere. PaulCa
  • Score: 5

8:45am Tue 18 Mar 14

Positive thinker says...

Nine tree huggers
Nine tree huggers Positive thinker
  • Score: -14

2:36pm Tue 18 Mar 14

bigfoot says...

I have the impression that you are an apologist for the Council and the 'big concerns'.
Think on this "When the last tree is cut,
the last river is poisoned,
the last fish is caught,
then only, will man discover,
that he cannot eat money".
I have the impression that you are an apologist for the Council and the 'big concerns'. Think on this "When the last tree is cut, the last river is poisoned, the last fish is caught, then only, will man discover, that he cannot eat money". bigfoot
  • Score: 3

8:36am Wed 19 Mar 14

Hugo1008 says...

Hey positive, you have spelled your name wrong again, I keep telling you it begins with WA not THI do wake up and try to get it right.

Just have a look at the trench for the new cables and you will plainly see it can be made quite flexible, wht not just go round the big tree, no big deal.

Just need a little consideratio unfortunatly something Scotish Power do not posess in any great quantity.
Hey positive, you have spelled your name wrong again, I keep telling you it begins with WA not THI do wake up and try to get it right. Just have a look at the trench for the new cables and you will plainly see it can be made quite flexible, wht not just go round the big tree, no big deal. Just need a little consideratio unfortunatly something Scotish Power do not posess in any great quantity. Hugo1008
  • Score: 8

6:13pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Positive thinker says...

Hugo,

You have to try a bit harder if your trying to insult me
Hugo, You have to try a bit harder if your trying to insult me Positive thinker
  • Score: -2

3:32pm Tue 15 Apr 14

colindyas says...

If this tree was over 400 years old then it predates the King James Bible, the English Civil War, modern Parliament, the Enlightenment, the Act of Union, the Industrial Revolution, the modern monarchy, two World Wars and the expansion of Wirral . So how do you put a value on history, landscape, and community guardianship . Well it is certainly more than the cost of a tree feller, the value of the sawn timber, and the need for a power cable. This should not have happened. For a company involved in generating light it seems a very dark act.
If this tree was over 400 years old then it predates the King James Bible, the English Civil War, modern Parliament, the Enlightenment, the Act of Union, the Industrial Revolution, the modern monarchy, two World Wars and the expansion of Wirral . So how do you put a value on history, landscape, and community guardianship . Well it is certainly more than the cost of a tree feller, the value of the sawn timber, and the need for a power cable. This should not have happened. For a company involved in generating light it seems a very dark act. colindyas
  • Score: 0

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