Azara Blog: Photographs of tree destruction at Hobson's Conduit

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Date published: 2009/01/09

Hobson's Conduit runs along the back of Newton Road (etc.) between Brooklands Avenue and Long Road. There is a path alongside and it has always been a pleasant place to walk or cycle. Unfortunately the city council seems to want to vandalise trees all over the city, and Hobson's Brook is the latest victim (after Parker's Piece and Byron's Pool).

The city says, in a letter dated 20 November 2008 and presumably sent to nearby residents and left at the site (by a recipient, not by the city):

The works will include pruning mature trees to make them safe, pruning and felling trees to open stretches of the brook to improve the habitat of the watercourse and felling trees to open stretches of the brook to improve the habitat of the watercourse and felling trees that have grown into the railings of the allotments.

The Council has taken advice from the Trustees of Hobson's Conduit and the Council's ecologist on the management of the brook. In places the watercourse has become shaded by overhanging trees, resulting in the loss of aquatic vegetation and a consequent reduction of insect and fish populations and the wildlife has suffered. If levels of light along the brook are not improved by thinning the trees and self set elder the bird population will continue to deplete still further so that the kingfishers may be lost completely.

Some of the mature poplars have shed substantial branches in the gales of the last few years. The trees need pruning to make them safe and to prolong their life and contribution to the landscape. There are a few dead elms and self set elder growing on the bank that are to be removed before they fall into the water or affect the flow of the water.

In Empty Common will also be felled and to plant two oak, two birch and hornbeam trees to provide a better habitat for wildlife, as advised by our ecologist. The allotments will benefit from more daylight too.

Five Lawson cypresses will be felled on the area to the north of the allotments to allow two mature birch and larch trees more daylight and room to grow and to allow more light into the allotments. By thinning the trees there will be room to plant the next generation, the replacements will be native trees -- two oak, two birch and one hornbean -- chosen with the help of the ecologist to improve the wildlife and to provide a valuable link between Hobson's Conduit, the Botanic Gardens and New Bit.

The recipient of the letter was evidently not amused and wrote on it:

The brook needs to be kept clear but the Lawson trees need to be kept. These act as a barrier away from the awful Brookland Avenue traffic. Animals like it dense NOT "Open".

What the city is basically saying in short is that "We need to kill Nature in order to save her". It is ridiculous. The city is always claiming it is short of money, yet is willing to waste all this money destroying a perfectly good environment.

Lawson cypresses in process of being destroyed:
Lawson cypresses destroyed

Remains of perfectly healthy tree that was cut down:
tree trunk left over

View of destruction along watercourse (with one tree left standing, presumably a politically correct species) (and with the Accordia development behind the fence):
view of destruction along water

Remains of tree clinging to rail:
remains of tree around rail

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