Call for probe into Stanborough poplars felling

PUBLISHED: 18:46 02 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:02 26 October 2009

The scene at Stanborough's south car park at the time of the felling

The scene at Stanborough's south car park at the time of the felling

A FORMER councillor is calling for a full inquiry into the felling of trees at a WGC beauty spot. It is a bid which is gaining support from others. Nigel Quinton slammed Welwyn Hatfield Council's decision to chop down 195 Lombardy poplar trees in Stanbor

Cllr Clare Berry: We have not misled public

A FORMER councillor is calling for a full inquiry into the felling of trees at a WGC beauty spot.

It is a bid which is gaining support from others.

Nigel Quinton slammed Welwyn Hatfield Council's decision to chop down 195 Lombardy poplar trees in Stanborough Park amid health and safety fears.

The move, in November, was based on two independent reports commissioned by the council.

The second of those, only just released, identified pollarding and selective removal as a viable solution.

Arboriculturalist Jim Mead called the trees "a valuable asset", and a degree of pruning would reduce their potential for falling on members of the public to "an acceptable level of risk".

Mr Quinton, who represented Handside - the ward in which Stanborough Lakes is in - called on the council to launch an immediate investigation.

He said: "The way this report was misrepresented is shocking.

"It is essential that a full and proper inquiry into the representation of the facts, both to the cabinet and to the public by Cllr Clare Berry, [the portfolio holder] is undertaken.

"Her actions suggest either a wilful disregard for the contents of one report or a serious lack of judgement in not ascertaining the facts for herself, neither of which are desirable in someone in charge of such an important portfolio."

But Cllr Berry was adamant the council "has not, in any way, misled the public".

She said: "Because of high public opinion, the council commissioned a third survey of the trees last year which looked at individual trees.

"As a result only the trees in the south car park were felled.

"We all knew the decision was an unpopular one to take but our concern was public safety.

"If the trees had remained the extent of the decay and problem would have worsened. "Pollarding would not have resolved the problem in the long term.

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