Anger at Peterborough City Council's decision to chop down 600-year-old oak tree

Ancient tree to be felled next week due to damage caused to homes

By Stephen Briggs
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 5:00 am
Protesters have been trying to save the tree
Protesters have been trying to save the tree

Protesters and politicians have hit out at the decision to cut down a 600 year old oak tree in Peterborough.

The city council said they had made the decision to fell the tree in Ringwood, Bretton, to save money for the taxpayer, as the roots were damaging near-by homes.

However, protesters, who have campaigned to save the tree for a number of months, said the decision was ‘appalling.’

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Historic 600-year-old Peterborough oak tree to be felled despite protests

Collette Francis, from the group of protesters, said: “I am appalled at this "decision."

"We have worked tirelessly for months researching, campaigning, and collecting evidence from specialists and provided this to the council. We have proven that the tree can remain, but they have chosen to ignore it. Under scrutiny request a 3rd independent report was done on all evidence submitted both by them and us. This specialist was picked by Peterborough City Council themselves. Even he has agreed with points we have raised and proven.”

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow agreed the tree should be saved, and said: “ I am extremely disappointed, particularly when I believe alternative strategies like root barriers have not been properly explored. I know the insurance company have said no, but this should be challenged.

“The householders obviously need a solution and don’t deserve damage to their homes. But it shouldn’t be necessary to fell an ancient tree.

“Although it’s a difficult situation for the Council, I would like to see their lawyers stand up to the Insurance companies, not fold under pressure. An alternative approach was possible, given some legal will and effort.

“I am really saddened that this wonderful tree will be lost.”

Councillor Shaz Nawaz, leader of the Labour Party in Peterborough, also said he was disappointed with the decision, saying: “Once again a lack of transparency & understanding here from the Tories on Peterborough City Council.

“The decision shows a lack of foresight & completely ignores the wishes of local people

“This ancient oak must be saved & protected for future generations.”

The date for the felling has been set for Tuesday, June 28.

Announcing the decision, Councillor Nigel Simons, cabinet member for waste, street scene and the environment at Peterborough City Council, said: “This was a very difficult decision. What was certain to us was that if we didn’t act quickly and swiftly, the council would be liable for the damage to one home – an underpinning bill of around £150,000.

“This would mean we wouldn’t have any money to look after thousands of other trees in the city, or continue with our tree planting schedule which has seen 3,300+ new trees planted in Peterborough over the last planting season.

“As four other homes could potentially be affected in the future – one of which has already raised a claim against the council – we would effectively be risking hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayers' cash –money which could be spent on other essential services like schools and adults and children's social care. This wasn’t a risk we were prepared to take.”