Residents in Bristol have expressed their concern after the local council announced two cypress trees measuring 20 metres tall are to be felled following a complaint that they blocked light to a nearby property.
Bristol City Council classed the pair of mature trees as a “nuisance” and declared they should be cut down.
Council officers said the Lawson cypress trees fell foul of a section of the Anti Social Behaviour Act which states that two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs in a line that extend more than two metres in height and act as a barrier to light or access should be classed as a “high hedge”.
The trees cannot be cut back to a suitable height as they would be unlikely to survive, the council said.
Lawson cypress trees – which are native to California and were introduced to Britain in 1854 – can grow to 45 metres.
The decision triggered an angry response from local residents who say the two trees are popular with local children and wildlife.
Laura Lawrenson, who lives directly opposite the trees, told the SWNS news agency: “That is not a hedge. That is two really beautiful trees that have grown together.
”It's also a real shame, because those trees have been there since the early 1970s, at the same time as the estate was built. Everybody is really sad about it.“
Chris Coldbreath, who also lives locally, said: ”Let's be realistic, the intention of the act is to stop the spread of 10ft hedges along borders.
“It wasn't intended to chop down 70ft trees that have been in an open area for years - trees full of wildlife that is now going to be made homeless. The whole thing is a travesty.“
A spokesperson for the council defended designating the 70ft trees as a hedge, saying it was in line with national legislation, and said officers had received a “number of comments from local residents supporting” their felling.
”Reducing these trees to the necessary size would leave them unlikely to survive and removing and replanting the tree has been agreed as the best option,” the spokesperson said.
“We're also investigating and offering further tree-planting spots to bring us closer to our aim of doubling the city's tree canopy by 2046.”
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