EXCLUSIVE: Furious residents will not stand down against Network Rail and bring the fight to them in a bid to save their trees.

  • thehaveringdaily.co.uk

At a meeting hosted by the Romford MP Andrew Rosindell on Monday 17 January, local residents voiced their anger at the destruction of their trees on the Romford to Upminster Line and the Romford to Gidea Park Line by Network Rail.

The Havering Daily has been covering the people’s fight against the company’s felling of trees that really has united all the community.

Last week residents woke up to the sound of chainsaws brutally destroying old Oak trees by contractors that line the back of these lines and immediately began the fight to stop this. Many of these trees are hundreds of years old and have a lot of wildlife near them that live either on the trees on the low level vegetation nearby.

During the meeting locals clearly told Network Rail staff that along those intended areas are protected species such as bats, slow worms, stag beetles and many badger sets. There are also conservation areas with tree protection orders in place.

A week’s temporary reprieve was given again due to the total lack of consultation by the rail company and still no sign of the ecological survey promised despite being asked for a ridiculous amount of times by endless members of the Havering community.

It appears that the tree destruction and lack of consultation is something that Network Rail have done repeatedly.

In February last year the Waltham Forest Echo reported:

“People living beside railway lines in Walthamstow have criticised Network Rail for cutting down mature trees to prevent service disruptions.

Households overlooking the London Overground route between Walthamstow Central and Wood Street were told “essential vegetation management” would be done to prevent “leaves falling onto the line” and other issues.

Some expected this to mean trees would be pruned, but were horrified to see all but one or two completely removed by the rail company’s contractors.”

In April last year the Western Telegraph reported:

Protests in Crinow as Network Rail cuts down trees.

Campaigners are protesting against Network Rail’s tree-felling project on the railway line near Crinow.

Protesters put up banners that said ‘shame on you Network Rail’, ‘stop killing trees’, and ‘where’s your Hart, Simon’ angry that the trees are being chopped down, near Narberth.

Lucie Yanacopoulo said: “The community is distraught and outraged by the undiscriminated destruction of trees by Network Rail alongside the railway in the Crinow area.”

Hampstead News reported in March last year:

Hampstead Heath neighbours ‘bereft’ after Network Rail tree ‘massacre’

Residents backing onto the overground line between Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak are in uproar over Network Rail works which have seen established trees cut down. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, contractors began extensive work on the stretch of the line which backs on to Constantine Road 

One neighbour, Ellie Roche, told this newspaper she and her family were devastated to discover what was going on.

“They did this massive thing and have massacred these trees,” she said. “Everyone feels bereft and there’s nothing we can do. The trees were full of nesting birds.”

In November last year the West Leeds Dispatch reported:

Controversial work to remove vegetation around the track between Kirkstall Viaduct and Horsforth has been brought to the attention of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – as West Leeds campaigners speak out against the work.

Network Rail says it is carrying out ‘essential’ clearance work to maintain safety on the four-mile stretch to remove all woody vegetation/trees within 21 feet of the Harrogate Lane in a bid to keep it free from obstruction. 

But local campaigners have criticised Network Rail for damaging an essential wildlife corridor and for a lack of consultation as work at the side of the tracks continues.

In March last year The Standard in Chester reported:

Yesterday we reported how residents had expressed their anger over the removal of the trees on the embankment close to their homes.

Many were left shocked by the volume of trees that have been felled, with one homeowner attempting to guard them.

Zoologist and wildlife TV presenter Megan McCubbin, stepdaughter of naturalist Chris Packham CBE, had also voiced her concerns over the impact on “vital habitat” after being made aware of the ongoing work via Twitter.

Hackney residents also had a similar battle last year when they saw the destruction of their trees.

Now the battle has come to Havering, residents here are not prepared to lose their trees and wildlife and will not back down. This is a battle they will fight to the very end and they will do what it takes to save their environment from destruction.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “On Monday 17 January Network Rail representatives discussed our ongoing vegetation management work at a meeting of stakeholders convened by Andrew Rosindell MP.

“We appreciated the opportunity to respond to questions MPs, Councillors and residents had about the work. We explained that we aim to manage our lineside in a way that promotes biodiversity while minimising the safety risk to those working and travelling on the railway, and we recognise that some local people would like further clarity on our plans.

“We’ve agreed to postpone our work for another seven days. This will allow us to review the scope of any remaining work and how this can be communicated to local representatives and residents. Much of the low level brambles closest to the railway have already been cleared and we will need to remove trees that are an immediate safety risk, for example of they’re dead, diseased or dying. We will share our final plans as soon as possible.”

2 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Furious residents will not stand down against Network Rail and bring the fight to them in a bid to save their trees.

  • 21st January 2022 at 10:09 pm

    Obviously never seen what damage a tree can do to a train then, let alone what serious injuries it could do to the Driver & passengers

    • 26th January 2022 at 11:08 pm

      No one has ever been killed on this line and now it seems network rail agree.


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