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Villagers rail against train line tree-cutting

UPSET residents have slammed rail bosses’ decision to clear trees and greenery along the train line in Hampton-in-Arden.

UPSET residents have slammed rail bosses’ decision to clear trees and greenery along the train line in Hampton-in-Arden.

Contractors arrived in the village last week, armed with saws and other tools, and started cutting down trees along the embankment.

Network Rail has said the project, in the vicinity of Station Road and Old Station Road, was essential for safety reasons.

But Geoff Arthur, who has lived in the village for some 40 years, says the work will destroy precious greenery.

And he was dismayed when he spoke to one workman who claimed that there would be “virtually nothing left” by the time they were finished.

“They’re clearing the ash and sycamore all along the line, I’m worried that hundreds of trees could go,” said Mr Arthur.

“As I understand it, the work will go from the railway bridge all the way to Wyckham Blackwell [a timber business some 200yds away].

“What I don’t understand is that there’s absolutely nothing to stop Network Rail doing this, even though we’re right next to a conservation area.

“Yet if I wanted to do something in my own back garden, then I’m sure it wouldn’t be allowed.”

The plans have caused controversy since they first emerged last year, with neighbours contacting Meriden MP Caroline Spelman and Hampton Parish Council. A Network Rail spokesman said the trees were cleared to prevent the problem of leaves on the line, but admitted the greenery was unlikely to be replaced.

“Fallen leaves from species like sycamore are the rail equivalent of black ice; these problems run the risk that a train would not be able to stop at a red signal.

“This is a national programme.

“We’ve identified sites where there’s the most risk or there have been problems in the past – Hampton-in-Arden is one of those.”

 

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