Network Rail employ The Tree Council to help replant safely after tree ‘decimation’ near Leighton Buzzard station

The Tree Council has been asked to step in by Network Rail over its plan to continue felling trees and cutting overgrown vegetation that is causing safety issues for the railway near Leighton Buzzard station.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:08 pm
Grange Close after cutting PHOTO: Heather Gill

Last week the LBO reported that 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.

A virtual community event on Thursday allowed both sides to express their views.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are taking on board feedback from our positive virtual meeting with local people, councillors, the Tree Council and MP Andrew Selous regarding the removal of trees around Leighton Buzzard station.

Grange Close before cutting PHOTO: Heather Gill

“People were very understanding as to why we need to remove trees beside the railway, and we have agreed how that will resume from March 14. Part of the agreement includes the Tree Council working with the community to look at what can be planted around the station instead which doesn’t cause safety issues for the railway.”

Southcourt Avenue resident Emma Floyd hopes that Network Rail sticks to the agreement.

She said: “Discussions felt positive to me, though I’m concerned that Network Rail’s communication could get lost again and contractors won’t follow the brief.”

Leighton-Linslade and Central Bedfordshire Independent councillor Victoria Harvey, who attended the meeting, has praised Network Rail for addressing residents’ concerns.

“Network Rail have positively engaged with the community. It’s just a real shame they haven’t followed their own biodiversity plan,” she said.

“They have gone out of their way to apologise and make it better.”

MP for South West Beds Andrew Selous, also present at the community meeting, said: “I’m very glad that Network Rail are now engaging with local residents and look forward to seeing their plans to replant with hopefully a mix of mature trees that will not only provide good screening very quickly, but also improve the biodiversity of the site.”