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Camden’s ‘brutal’ tree pollarding angers Hampstead campaigners

PUBLISHED: 16:25 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 16:25 05 November 2020

Ferncroft Avenue residents said trees pollarded as recently as 10 months ago should not be treated again. Picture: Polly Hancock

Ferncroft Avenue residents said trees pollarded as recently as 10 months ago should not be treated again. Picture: Polly Hancock

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People living in the Redington Frognal conservation area are furious at Camden Council’s “overbearing attitude” towards tree surgery and pollarding.

The pollarded trees in Ferncroft Avenue are know exhibiting epicormic growth, which is a sign of stress. Picture: Polly HancockThe pollarded trees in Ferncroft Avenue are know exhibiting epicormic growth, which is a sign of stress. Picture: Polly Hancock

Residents including Marcelle Shulman told the Ham&High how upset they were to see seemingly healthy trees “massacred” by Camden contractors.

Marcelle said: “We need to show everyone how they are destroying these trees. They’re meant to be looked after once every three years or so – here, they’ve come back after just 10 months.

“It’s ruining the whole of the leaf cover.”

Despite opposition from local Conservative opposition councillors, the council maintains that its strategy is “standard practice”.

Marcelle Shulman who has criticised work on very small trees in Kiddapore Gardens. Picture: Polly HancockMarcelle Shulman who has criticised work on very small trees in Kiddapore Gardens. Picture: Polly Hancock

In a statement, the Redington Frognal Neighbourhood Forum criticised the tree-cutting.

It called the pollarding – the removing of upper branches of trees, ideally to encourage dense leaf and branch growth – “very brutal”.

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The forum added: “It seems perverse that Camden is intent on reducing canopy cover at a time when all other boroughs are seeking to increase leaf canopies.”

Last year tree campaigner Harvey Flinders told this newspaper how “some areas, such as Redlington and Frognal, have lost 40pc of their trees in 8 or 9 years”.

He said: “What we need is a look at how we plant thousands of trees. We need to look at how these are planted and how they are looked after. This situation is untenable.”

A town hall spokesperson said: “The tree work in the Redington Frognal area is part of Camden’s regular tree maintenance, targeting areas that might experience subsidence.

“The maintenance work can help to reduce the risk of trees causing damage to neighbouring properties. This is standard good practice followed across London.”

The council pointed to a recent survey by aerial photography firm Blue Sky International which showed Camden was one of the twenty local authorities in the country with the highest proportion of tree cover.

But in response to that study figures such as Camden Tory leader Cllr Oliver Cooper said much of this was due to the density of trees on Hampstead Heath.

In 2018 a UCL study using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDaR) technology found there were an estimated 85,000 trees in the borough, and that these trees in the borough were as good at trapping carbon as those in rainforests.


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