A NUMBER of trees due to be felled in Hamp Green Rise, Bridgwater, have been given a stay of execution following public outcry.

With environmental protection very much at the forefront of the news recently, a petition was soon started after it emerged Somerset County Council were looking to fell trees on Hamp Green Rise.

The petition garnered more than 270 signatures, and local councillors Leigh Redman and Brian Smedley were soon on the case, frustrated at the lack of consultation with either councillors or local residents about these works.

Cllr Redman contacted the County Highways arboriculturalist Ben Coles who agreed to pause the works and said nothing further would happen until a formal meeting and review had taken place.

Cllr Smedley said: “This is an important test case because Town Council policy is to resist any removal of trees without full public consultation and a good reason with alternatives.”

After a meeting between the concerned parties took place on Friday, (May 17) a further postponement was arranged, and it was agreed that a public summit would take place covering the county and district councils’ respective tree felling policies.

This meeting of the Town Development Forum will take place at Bridgwater Town Hall on Tuesday, June 4 at 7pm at Bridgwater Town Hall.

Specialists will be present and the public are encouraged to attend.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “We know how important trees are to a community and the decision to fell any tree is never taken lightly.

“However, we also have a duty of care to keep the public safe and this includes taking reasonable steps to minimise the risk of injury or damage from unsafe trees.

“Across Bridgwater we have identified 18 trees, including six in Hamp Green Rise, which are dead or dying.

“Regrettably, these trees cannot be saved and works to remove them will take place shortly. Public consultation is not required with essential safety works but we recognise the interest in this matter and have agreed to meet with councillors to further explain why the works are required.”