Clare Castle Country Park - Tree felling
Unnecessary tree-felling can never be supported. However there are four situations where tree-work is necessary in the Park:
1. Public risk.
2. Closely growing trees.
3. Damage to the environment.
4. Damage to buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
The following sets out more detail of the above.
Public risk. Those with the responsibility for managing areas that are open to the public have a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that falling trees and branches are not a danger to the public.
The Trustees of the Park take a number of internal and external steps to meet this responsibility. The 'external steps' include:
a. Park Rangers from St Edmundsbury Borough Council patrol the Park several times a week and notify the Trust of trees they believe need attention.
b. A qualified arboroculturalist inspects the trees annually and provides the Trust with a report that identifies those trees that need attention. This can include complete felling, pollarding, coppicing or just the removal of dangerous branches.
Closely growing trees. As trees grow (whether they have been planted, or more commonly where they have self-seeded) they can be too close to one another. This can result in them growing tall and spindly, thereby never maturing properly and being much more likely to blow over in gales and high winds.
Damage to the environment. Healthy trees can damage the ecological environment by cutting out light. This can have two main effects:
1. it prevents the development of good habitat in certain areas which could be ideal for a variety of plants and wild-life to thrive.
2. it can damage adjacent areas. (A specific example of this can be where trees prevent light getting to water. This results in 'dead' water that has very little plant and wild-life and can be smelly and unsightly.
Damage to buildings etc Trees that have grown too close to buildings can cause damage to the foundations of buildings or the buildings themselves. They can also cause damage to the remains of the castle buildings and earthworks that are protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and which the Trustees are legally required to protect.
In all cases where tree-work is undertaken the Trustees of the Park make sure that the work is necessary and complies with all regulations etc. before it is carried out.
Two more general points are relevant:
1. there are many invasive trees (e.g. sycamore and hybrid poplar) taking over some areas, over-shading the under-storey and suppressing the more desirable longer-lived native species such as oak, ash, hazel etc.. Steps have to be taken to prevent these trees from taking over. This does not mean all invasive trees need felling.
2. there is a programme of re-planting certain areas with potential specimen native trees and woodland shrubs. This will ensure this valuable and unique asset is there for future generations.
Geoffrey Bray. 5th March 2017