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Information event on railway vegetation clearance

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The work was postponed earlier this year, leaving some trees looking like giant totem poles! Picture by John Dalton

Network Rail is holding an information event on 4th August to explain to local people why its work to clear trees and vegetation from near the railway line in Stone will be continuing.

The drop-in event is being held at Walton Community Centre on Tuesday 4th August between 5.30pm and 8.30pm. Members of the project team will be available to speak to you.

Network Rail started the work in January – more HERE – but it was postponed in April following complaints from local people, and will start again after the bird nesting season. A letter sent in June to addresses bordering the affected railway line said: “We understand that the extent of the vegetation removal is visually impacting to local residents and can come as a big shock. Therefore, prior to works recommencing, it is our intention to host a public information event so you will be able to view the proposals and ask any questions.”

Many local people criticised Network Rail for the vegetation clearance – especially the chopping back of trees – and the impact on wildlife. But Network Rail says it worked to strict guidelines in relation to protecting birds and that full ecology reports were carried out before work got under way. It says the works are needed for two reasons:

1. The Brown Review in 2014 questioned the resilience of the transport network to extreme weather and called on Network Rail to increase its focus on lineside vegetation management, mainly for safety reasons, but also to improve network resilience, reliability and punctuality

2. The railway in the Staffordshire area is currently undergoing a power supply upgrade project and Network Rail needs to remove any trees or vegetation which are within 3.5 metres of overhead electrical power lines or equipment.

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