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Trees to be removed from near railway line

Work will be carried out on the railway in Stone over the next three months to remove potentially dangerous trees and vegetation.

Network Rail will be carrying out the works from 12th January to 3rd April, mainly between 8.30am and 4.30pm, but with some overnight works in February and March (dates below).

A letter sent to residents living next to the parts of the railway line where works will be carried out says: “We will be removing any potentially dangerous line-side trees and plants, prioritising areas that pose a significant safety or performance risk. All sites will see a clear six-metre wide corridor created on either side of the track and possibly further in areas where trains commonly accelerate and brake.”

Network Rail says that 1,000 trains collided with a fallen tree or large branch across the country last year.

Lime, ash and rowan trees will be removed at various points on the railway line in Stone – you can see exactly where in the maps above.

Network Rail says in the letter: “We are very aware of the impact that removing trees and vegetation can have on local communities. We particularly know that this can come as something of a shock for people who have become accustomed to lines of trees near their homes or workplaces. But for the safety of our passengers and employees we have no option but to take action to reduce the risk posed to the safe, reliable running of the railway.”

The work schedule, including overnight works…

And part of the letter from Network Rail explaining why the works are taking place…

8 comments

  1. I have just received the letter about the tree felling in King’s Avenue and phoned up the Network Rail helpline. They have a target of responding in 20 days, and the work in Stone starts in….22 days. The last time the issue arose – 2003, I think – at least we could speak to the senior contractor doing the work, and they concluded it was then safe just to prune and leave the trees in place. This time, just a helpline. Not much help yet! The information received has several inaccuracies, and looks rather like one short visit by Network Rail staff with a clipboard. Does anybody have a copy of what was decided last time this happened?  Then, of course, the greater issue was the wrong kind of leaves on the line!

    • Jon, many thanks for adding your comments to this post. If anybody else is concerned about these proposals for the removal of trees I think it would still be helpful if they could call the helpline number in the first instance to register their concerns.

      I am still trying to find out more details about the works to be carried out in Kings Avenue/Tunley Street and will let you know if and when I receive these. I also sent an email to the tree officer and conservation officer at Stafford Borough Council yesterday for their views on these proposals and have asked if there are any conditions or requirements that Network Rail would have to comply with in relation to works within the conservation area.

      It looks to me like Network Rail’s current proposals are a result of a Government report published in July last year (the Transport Resilience Review) which looked at the impact of extreme weather on all modes of transport and how to mitigate against it. This followed last winter’s severe weather. Section 6 of this report relates specifically to railways and includes recommendations regarding “vegetation management” and stability of cuttings and embankment slopes, etc.

  2. Here we go again! About 12 years ago Network Rail were proposing similar tree felling and surgery works alongside the West Coast mainline through Stone, including the conservation area of Granville Terrace, Kings Avenue, Tunley Street, etc. There was such an outcry from local residents opposed to these works at the time that Network Rail eventually had second thoughts and significantly reduced the extent of the works. Obviously, rail safety must be the priority in considering what works might now need to be carried out, but the effect of these works on the amenity of the area should not be overlooked.

    I’m a resident of one of the affected streets, Kings Avenue, and have not yet had any letter from Network Rail. This worries me, particularly as works could start today (12 January). It also concerns me that one of the plans in the article refers to “trees located opposite houses 5 to 16, 23 and 34 (Tunley St)”, but only house number 34 is in Tunley Street – numbers 5 to 16 and 23 are actually in Kings Avenue.

    As always, Network Rail can do just about anything they want, even in a conservation area. They do not require planning permission. There is no consultation.

    • Suggest you call on the number above. I have just done so and they are to get back to me re concerns. The more who call the better.

      • Thanks Tim. I had already called Network Rail on Monday (12th Jan) and they did admit they had made a mistake in not sending out letters to properties located between the railway bridge at Radford Street/Longton Road and the Station. These have now been sent out apparently.

        I also contacted Stafford Borough Council to check if they had been consulted on the proposed works within the conservation area. SBC said they hadn’t but Network Rail have since informed me that their consultants/contractors had met with SBC’s tree officer in October.

    • I believe they do intend to remove the limes as they did last time before residents got media involved. Several errors on the Granville Terrace listing of works. No consultation, no interest in it. Just bureaucrats choosing lowest cost option.

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