Tree Felling Along the Millennium Way:Statement from Lancashire County Council



The trees along the Low Mill section of the Caton Greenway were planted some 40 years ago as part of the land reclamation scheme to improve the area.

The County Council as landowners have a responsibility for public safety, and following a recent survey it has been recommended that the avenue of Italian Alders be removed due to their instability.  A combination of tall, top heavy trees growing on thin soils makes them very vulnerable to gales, which seem to becoming more frequent and increasing in strength.

During Storm Arwen of November 2021, six trees were blown over, hitting an adjacent property.

Around 12 years ago the County Council had planned to thin out the trees by removing approximately one third of them.  This work would have slowed the upward growth of the trees and we would have been left with shorter, squatter and more stable trees.

However, this work was never carried out due to local opposition.  Whilst nobody wants to cut trees down, there are occasions when, for good management purposes trees do need to be removed.  Sadly the consequences of the local pressure led to a situation that was inevitable.  The trees were not thinned out, they continued to compete with each other for light, they became very tall and became unstable on the thin, old railway line soil – and sadly they now all need to be removed.

The Forestry Commission agree with our views and have subsequently provided us with a Felling Licence, the permission we need to deliver the works.  The licence also includes a replanting plan which will see a mixture of native broadleaf trees planted, including oak, birch, cherry, hazel and mountain ash.  This planting mixture will be more in keeping with the local landscape and provide greater benefits to local wildlife.

The timber and brash (branches) from the felling operations will be chipped and used to produce renewable energy in sustainable wood fired boilers or made into panel-boards.  Any income from the sale of the timber will be used to offset works costs and be used to pay for replanting.