Don’t fell all the trees in the park

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I believe the primary purpose of a public park is to provide the maximum enjoyment to the public using the park. Numerous academic studies have shown trees and woodland to greatly improve people’s wellbeing. I am concerned the well-being and enjoyment of those using Walverden Park could soon greatly suffer if the planned felling of about a third of the park’s trees goes ahead.

I’ve heard a number of reasons for the planned felling but do not consider it to be justified by any of them. I’ve heard the tree planting was poorly managed and the tree canopy prevents growth below and diversity. There is already a diversity of smaller plants in the park. Last year’s felling has not benefited the plants below or encouraged diversity.

Mature trees mitigate climate change far more effectively than a diversity of smaller plants. And mature trees improve people’s well-being in a way smaller plants or diversity doesn’t.

I’ve heard the trees are diseased and felling is a transition to a more diverse, better managed woodland for future generations. I am not aware that the fact a tree is diseased should mean it has to be felled. I find it hard to believe so many of the trees should require felling in so short a time. I would expect a transitional felling to consist of a small proportion of trees at intervals of a number of years.

This “transition”, however, consists of the many trees felled last year, considerably more this year and, I understand, more trees next year and more the year after that. I am concerned that if all the trees are felled as planned, Walverden Park will not have enough trees to be considered wooded. Such a “transition” may well provide for future generations but those of the immediate future will live much of their lives with a Walverden Park providing a level of wellbeing and enjoyment unnecessarily far below that currently experienced.

I’ve heard the trees must be felled because squirrels attack the trees and scare away birds. I am not aware the behaviour of squirrels has led to tree felling on this scale elsewhere. I do not believe birds would prefer no trees to one being attacked by squirrels.

I have spoken to a number of the park’s users and they are almost universally opposed to the planned felling. I expect they, like me, would accept the planned felling if they considered it justified. I ask that, for the peace of mind of the park’s users, Pendle Borough Council please publicise its justification for the felling, including any tree expert’s survey findings etc and full details of their plans before any trees are felled. I ask this please be done with enough time for the park’s users to respond before any trees are felled.

I ask this as I don’t want my almost daily walks through Walverden Park, rather than lift my spirits, to lower them as I wonder if losing so many trees was justified.

Peter Russell

Messenger Street