Meeting to be held as Leighton Buzzard residents rage at tree ‘decimation’ by railway line

A virtual community event has been scheduled by Network Rail to discuss tree felling near Leighton Buzzard Station which has upset some residents living in close proximity to the tracks.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 3:06 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 3:21 pm
By Grange Close PHOTO: Cllr Harvey

Last week, without consultation, Network Rail removed trees along the railway line, prompting complaints from residents in Southcourt Avenue and Grange Close about noise and light pollution.

Neighbours in Southcourt Avenue were seething about the destruction of conifers, and in Grange Close residents were furious about the removal of vegetation and an apple tree, the last from an orchard, that had been there for 60 years.

MP for South West Beds, Andrew Selous and Leighton-Linslade and Central Bedfordshire Independent councillor Victoria Harvey have been actively involved in discussions with Network Rail to temporarily suspend the work and bring about this meeting.

A Network Rail spokesperson told the LBO on Friday: “Work to remove trees and overgrown plants on the railway embankment in Leighton Buzzard is currently paused. We have to remove anything which is within four metres of the 25,000 volt overhead wires which power trains.

“We are working with the local MP and councillors to hold a community event so we can better explain to residents the important safety reasons behind clearing vegetation and trees beside the railway.”

Today Network Rail confirmed details for the virtual community event as being this Thursday. An invitation has been sent out to residents detailing how they can join the virtual meeting.

In the letter it said: “We have been removing trees along the railway in and around Leighton Buzzard, we are sorry that we didn’t let you know about this in advance. We have temporarily paused this work until you have had a chance to raise your concerns and questions with us.

“Removing trees near to the railway is important to us because they can block signals, branches blow onto the railway, interfere with overhead line equipment and drop leaves on the line. All of which affect the safe running of the railway.

“We will be holding a virtual community event on Thursday, March 4 at 7pm. This will give us a chance to explain what we are doing, why we are doing it and give you an opportunity to voice concerns.”

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Work hits the buffers as residents rage at ‘decimation and devastation’ of trees...