In 2012 the wood was the subject of a Statutory Plant Health Notice requiring the company to remove all Rhododendron plants within the wood, which took place during 2012/3, clearing significant areas of undergrowth. Subsequent to this, in a bid to improve the wood which had not been actively managed for many decades and which was in poor condition, we started the process of producing a Woodland Management Plan under the guidance of the Forestry Commission, resulting in the plan being approved in 2015. As part of this process, the necessary felling licences were issued by the Forestry Commission.
The Forestry Commission advised us that the approved WMP and felling licences that result from it supersede any Tree Preservation Order (TPO) restriction and allow the company to carry out works to trees as approved under the licence without submitting individual applications to lift the TPO – this is the current position as we understand it. The work being carried out under the WMP involves clearing the non-native trees/invasive plants, damaged or malformed trees, scrub, debris and self-seeded plants and replanting the bare ground with an lowland oak woodland species list as approved by the Forestry Commission. The result will be a vastly improved woodland.
The first phase of the works took place in 2015, the 2016 works taking place this week. We have budgeted for 1-2 weeks work per year. The Council’s Environmental Health Team have been made aware of the works as they may involve burning of brash and production of a small amount of smoke – they have confirmed that they have no concerns. In addition, the local fire brigade have been made aware of the works in case their services are required.
In additional to these works, the company carries out tree safety surveys due to the proximity of dwellings, railway line and public highways, carrying out recommended works on dead, dying and diseased trees as directed by an arboriculture surveyor to reduce the risk the members of the public and neighbours.