Stanborough's poplars will be replaced

SIR – Regarding your article which refers to an embarrassing U-turn (WHT, August 27), I would like to make the issue of the Stanborough Lakes poplar trees clear. Poplar trees last between 30 and 40 years before their stability becomes uncertain and they

SIR - Regarding your article which refers to an "embarrassing U-turn" (WHT, August 27), I would like to make the issue of the Stanborough Lakes poplar trees clear.

Poplar trees last between 30 and 40 years before their stability becomes uncertain and they effectively become unsafe. While in dense woodlands, this might not be a great challenge, but while they are surrounding a popular local attraction, they can become a real threat to people and property. This was demonstrated in the pages of the Welwyn Hatfield Times recently with a car seriously damaged by the collapse of a similar falling tree. The evidence is right here in Welwyn Hatfield in recent weeks.

Some trees might last centuries, poplars only last a few decades, as was known when they were planted. Our choice therefore is not between keeping the trees and cutting them down - it is between the various options for replacing them. If the council were to keep these unstable trees in place, the public outcry would be far greater when they began to cause injury and damage in the coming years. The fact that these trees are reaching the end of their natural lives should not be a matter of dispute.

Instead we should be looking at possible replacements. The council has a simple choice which perhaps has not been communicated ideally, but remains simple: we intend to replace the poplars with mature trees which will maintain their stability for a much greater time than poplars could and therefore maintain a pleasant attraction of the area. This is a more secure investment with far smaller risks to local residents, visitors and their children.


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Not to remove the large potential threat would be irresponsible. A constructive approach to replacing them will lead to a safer, sustainable and enjoyable attraction for many more decades to come.

Cllr Clare Berry, cabinet member for environment, Welwyn Hatfield Council.

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