Environmental groups fear the cutting down of mature trees as Network Rail carry out vegetation work on Upminster-Romford line.

Havering Friends of the Earth are concerned about work taking place on the Romford to Upminster train line, fearing more mature trees and wildlife could be destroyed.

Network Rail are due to carry out work on the line that could see the removal of trees if they deem them unsafe for the train line as part of their vegetation management. A meeting will be taking place this afternoon (Thursday 6 January) at 4.30pm between local residents living near the small train line and Network Rail officials.

A spokesperson for Havering Friends of the Earth, told the Havering Daily:

“This is a very popular line locally, and we have been informed that Network Rail are going to be carrying out vegetation works on the line. We have not been issued with a date on when this is taking place and have not received the ecological survey they said was available.

“There are many mature trees on that line, and we all know just how important trees are. We understand that work needs to be carried out. However, we do not wish to see any trees cut or the use of dangerous herbicides that cause such damage to our planet and wildlife.

“We were hoping to receive the ecological survey before the meeting today so that we could run it past our own experts. Yet despite asking for it repeatedly, we still have not received this report.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Managing trees and vegetation is very important to keep passengers and track workers safe. Trees and vegetation can obscure signals, touch live electrical equipment, blow or fall onto the tracks, undermine track foundations, or prevent our track staff having a safe place to wait while trains pass. This work also helps reduce leaves falling onto the line, which can affect train acceleration and braking, delaying trains during the autumn months and increasing the risk of an accident happening.

“For these reasons the vegetation work we’re planning for the Upminster/Romford line is critical for the continued safe and reliable running of trains. Removing vegetation is not a decision we take lightly and as part of our responsibility to our line-side neighbours, a virtual community briefing is scheduled for 6 January 2022 at 16:30 to help inform residents of what is being planning, what to expect and why it is necessary. Dates for the work will be confirmed to residents by letter once finalised.

“Our ecological survey work was completed over December and the report is currently being finalised. Our intention is to make this report available to residents upon request once the report has been completed.”

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