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Ancient woods are his-tree, says MHK

Improving road safety means trees in a historic woodland can't be saved.

That's according to Chair of the Planning Committee MHK Martyn Perkins, following the news Elm trees in St Marks are going to be felled.

It sparked opposition from locals, with a petition against the move nearing 8,000 signatures in under 24 hours.

In a statement from the Committee - Mr Perkins says: 

“Trees are a vital part of our Island landscape and are rightly cherished by our community.  The Isle of Man has robust legislation in place to protect trees and woodlands, and a number of stringent conditions must be met for approval to be granted to remove a tree.

I fully understand and appreciate the public’s concern over the proposal to remove 25 Elm trees in St Marks, however the request centres on improving road safety, which the Planning Committee cannot ignore.

The planning application seeks to improve vehicular access to the properties off of the Braaid Road.  It follows a previous collision at the junction and reports of several near misses.  Removing the trees and creating a new access is necessary to significantly improve visibility and the safety of that section of road, reducing the risk of a serious accident. Of the 25 trees to be removed, seven are of good condition and 18 are of poorer quality.

The loss of any tree is always regrettable, especially Elms, however, following input from the forestry team, the applicant has made changes to their application specifically to minimise the number of trees to be removed.  The vast majority of the avenue will be unaffected, with well over 300 trees remaining. There will be substantial compensatory tree planting which, over the next few years, will achieve a net biodiversity gain for the area.”

Government says trees play an important role in their approach to meeting net zero emissions by 2050, which is why over 100,000 trees have been planted on the Island in the last 12 months.

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