Letter: Royal trees

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Placing Windsor Great Park under the Habitats Directive issued by Brussels ("Wildlife sites to be made inviolate", 21 June) is disturbing: it encourages other park owners to degrade habitat as quickly as possible before they too are listed; it will make landowners less welcoming to scientific research; it will give yet more power to planners in offices.

In our research in the Great Park (on air chemistry) I have been consistently impressed by the understanding and love for the place shown by the park wardens. That the park exists at all is because it was created and maintained over the centuries by the royals.

The old oaks of Windsor need some renewal, or there will be no such habitat for beetles some centuries hence when the present old decaying trees have finally gone. I was sad the Duke of Edinburgh decided to cut trees, but I understood the trans-generational equity in the decision. He valued environmental benefit in future centuries above the present visual amenity to us miserable folk escaping from the surrounding concrete wasteland we have created by bad planning.

Created habitats like Windsor Park are not stable but dynamic; they need to be managed actively and with understanding.

Professor E G NISBET

Englefield Green, Surrey