Hundreds of trees are to be planted in a woodland in Birkby that was felled without permission.
The Forestry Commission has issued a ‘re-stocking order’ for 473 trees to be planted on land off Reap Hirst Road.
There was an outcry when the woodland was reportedly subject to unauthorised felling in December 2021.
The Forestry Commission had been urged to investigate and now a ‘re-stocking order’ has been issued, hailed by a local councillor as a “landmark victory for environmental conservation.”
Lindley Tory councillor Adam Gregg, who has campaigned with Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and local activist Robert McGuin, welcomed the news and said: “We have been pushing for this restocking order on behalf of the residents since the original trees were felled.
“I am pleased that the Forestry Commission has taken action by issuing this restocking order for 473 trees. I am grateful to everyone who supported our campaign.”
Mr McGuin was also delighted and said: “This is a great victory for our community. We are delighted that the Forestry Commission has listened to our concerns and taken action to protect our environment.
“This verdict serves as a warning to anyone who intends to illegally uproot trees to reconsider their actions. We will continue to work together to ensure that our trees and wildlife are preserved for future generations.”
The Forestry Commission’s re-stocking order, which is subject to appeal, requires the landowner to re-stock the felled area with at least 473 trees at this site before June 30 2025.
The following species are to be planted to achieve the re-stocking requirements: 20% pedunculate oak, 20% birch, 20% wild cherry, 10% small-leaved lime, 10% sycamore, 10% hazel and 10% holly.
For the next 10 years, the trees must be properly protected against damage, adequately weeded and maintained.
Any trees that fail, die or are otherwise lost during the 10-year period must be replaced by the following year to provide satisfactory re-stocking, and this must be done in accordance with the rules and practice of good forestry.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “We can confirm that trees were felled at Reap Hirst Road in Birkby without a felling licence, and a Restocking Notice has now been served for this site.
“No fewer than 473 trees must be planted to replace those that were felled, and must be maintained for 10 years after planting.”