Ash trees felled for pipeline work

Some mature Ash trees were felled during the second week of March 2007 at the north end of the Park, near to the golf course and the pump house (photos). Apparently this was done by Thames Water Authority in preparation for a water pipeline intended to convey water from a borehole near the Temple to the pumping station across the River Roding from the Park, near the Redbridge roundabout.

Although the photograph shows that the interior of the tree is decayed at the base, there is still plenty of surrounding wood that should ensure that the tree would have survived safely for some time. Indeed, it can be seen that higher up, the tree is perfectly sound.

Woodpecker holes were present in the trees, including one that had very recently been worked upon. I was told that during this operation four Noctule Bats were found to have been roosting in one of the trees. This disturbance may well have contravened some important regulations. Bats and their breeding and nesting sites (roosts) are protected under the Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1994 and Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Subsequently, some impressive artificial bat roosts were attached to the trunks of oak trees nearby, apparently in compensation for the loss of the natural ones.

A number of ash trees were cut down, mature hawthorns were severely pruned, and perhaps worst of all a rare specimen of an American species of  hawthorn in Wanstead Park, Crataegus coccinoides, was also felled!

Yet again, it seems to me, that destruction of the habitat has taken place with little regard for what is there.

Paul Ferris, March 2007