A developer explains the process of felling nearly 2,000 trees in popular Northampton Forest

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Work began this week to fell nearly 2,000 trees in a popular Northampton woodland to make way for a “much needed” relief road.

The felling of around 1,800 trees in a section of Harlestone Firs began on Monday October 31. The felling of trees is part of larger works to make way for the second phase of the new £54.5million North West Relief Road and also 3,000 new homes in the area. The felling will last about six weeks and access to some of the trees will be restricted during this period, according to the promoters.

The Dallington Grange billboard, with trees in Harlestone Firs in the background

The developer says around 1,800 trees will be felled. “Many of them have reached economic maturity and were expected to be felled as part of a normal cycle of forestry work over the next few years anyway,” the developers said.

How many trees are replanted?

The developers say around 8,000 native trees and shrubs will be replanted. “To provide a much more diverse and resilient woodland area that will provide habitat for a whole host of wildflowers, insects, birds and animals,” the developers said.

Access to the wooded area during operations

The North-West Relief Road will direct traffic away from busy roads through Kingshorpe and Dallington

The promoters said: “To protect your safety, access will be restricted to work areas. Access to the rest of Harlestone Firs will remain open.”

Impact on wildlife and the ecological aspects of the woodlot

The developments indicate that a full ecological investigation has been undertaken by qualified ecologists and that no animals will be harmed.

Protect and enhance the environment

Slaughter plans are listed on a notice board at Harlestone Firs

Proponents say each tree felled will be “sustainably used”, with some being “made into a whole range of products” including garden fencing, tree stakes for creating new wood elsewhere, flooring, furniture or used to generate sustainable electricity. and the heat.

The new forest is likely to store up to 1,100 tons of carbon over the next 75 years, the developers said.

Climate Action Group Response

The chair of the West Northamptonshire climate action group, Jane Wood, said the tree replacement was “positive”, but raised concerns that the new trees were being properly cared for.

She said: “Planting native trees and shrubs to replace felled trees could also be a good thing, provided they are planted and cared for properly. Unfortunately, we have seen many examples of tree planting projects fail because it doesn’t – in a hot, dry summer like the one we just had young trees can die if not taken care of.”

Jane then asked if a new route was the answer.

She said: “Does West Northamptonshire Council have any serious intention of achieving the net zero targets that the unitary authority has set? If so, the millions now being spent on road building would be much better used to improve public transport and provide an extensive, safe network of active travel routes.And planning policy must prioritize public transport and active travel, rather than allowing development to be built that depends on new roads.

WNC has committed to being net zero with its own emissions by 2030 and those of residents and businesses by 2045.

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