I am horrified that Colne Town Council, through its allotments committee, has had two perfectly healthy trees destroyed at the Intake Allotments next to King George V Playing Fields in Horsfield Ward.
This act of environmental vandalism was given the go-ahead by the principal environment officer (planning policy and conservation) of Pendle Borough Council. When I heard that this was going to happen, I intervened and contacted those responsible, including the chief executive and the borough councillor portfolio holder for the environment, to try and avert this desecration but all to no avail.
I was given a number of excuses as to why these popular trees should be chopped down, such as they were poor trees which have no place on allotments. I reminded the council that the trees were sound (apart from a few rotten branches which could have been pruned) and had been in place for over 100 years, long before the allotments were established. In any case, they did not cause problems to the allotment holders as they were situated at the bottom of the plots and were no threat to the public.
I was told that these trees did not meet the criteria for Tree Protection Orders and yet, in my view, they merited protection on four such criteria: health; sound structural quality; contribution to the character of the locality (enriching the landscape) and provision of wildlife habitat (shade in summer and leaf mould in winter).
In addition, Pendle already has very low tree cover. The borough needs more trees, not less, so that we can have “carbon sinks” to combat climate change.
In light of the above evidence, the council is guilty of maladministration and wasting public money to pay hundreds of pounds to have trees needlessly cut down.
Dave and Sue Penney