A BASINGSTOKE man is furious after a tree near his home was mysteriously cut down during the nesting season.

Steven Lucas, who lives near Roman Way, said “a perfectly sound tree” near his home on the side of the highway was removed by a contractor on Tuesday, April 26.

But despite contacting the Hampshire Highways and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council several times, Steven says the two authorities are passing the buck.

“The main reason I was concerned is they shouldn't be cutting trees this time of year with the nesting birds,” Steven said.

“The countryside Act 1981 states that you cannot do tree work this time of year.”

“And if you look at the base of it, it is a perfectly sound tree. I've done my chainsaw training via the Oakley group, funded by Basingstoke council, and I know about trees.

“The contractor started the work at 8am and finished it by 11am. I have never seen such a big tree come down so fast.”

Although Steven went to the council and the Hampshire Highways initially told him they were not involved in the work.

However, he said Hampshire Highways has now got back to him saying the Basingstoke council authorised the felling of the tree because it had a split and they feared it might fall on a substation nearby.

“This tree stood strong despite all the strong wind recently. And the contractor has anyway left branches on top of the sub-station after the felling.

“I am asking why could it not wait until after the nesting season.”

Basingstoke Gazette: A pic shared by Steven Lucas shows the branches fallen over a substation.A pic shared by Steven Lucas shows the branches fallen over a substation.

When he contacted the Basingstoke council again with this information, Steven was told the officer was not aware of the series of events and had no involvement in the operational area of the Arboriculture team.

Steven said this is not the first time “good trees were disappeared from the side of Roman Road for no apparent reason”.

“That was also on the small corner where the old Roman Road goes into the new Roman Way. And the trees were good.”

The borough council’s Interim Head of Environment and Community Services Rob Draper said: “The sycamore tree in Roman Road was removed by our contractors for health and safety reasons. An inspection showed the tree had split and there was a significant risk of it damaging the nearby substation. Following consultation with Hampshire County Council, we are pleased to say a new sapling will be planted at the site to replace the damaged Sycamore tree.

“We aim to prune, trim or fell the vast majority of vegetation in woodland areas during the winter period of October to March. This avoids the period most likely to see active bird nesting. When we do carry out tree work in the nesting season our trained staff take great care in checking the vegetation prior to any work starting. No active nests were identified so the work was undertaken.”

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