13th November 2000

Cable Installation Damages Tree Roots

Trench digging means end for 80 year old tree

This story covers the after effects of careless cable laying in Windsor. At the end of the story we show the area as the tree is felled and taken away.

On September 14th 2001 The local newspaper, The Observer, reported that the responsible company, Broadband Services International, were fined £10,000 for irreparably damaging a tree upon which a Tree Preservation Order was in force.

Tree damaged by cable laying

The damaged Beech Tree, centre, before it was cut down following terminal root damage

It is not the first time that contractors have damaged, and often killed, trees whilst working on the installation of cable networks in our towns and cities. Careless or thoughtless trench digging often cuts through major roots which inevitably lead to the death of a tree, or causes such severe damage that the tree must be cut down before it falls and causes injury.

At the junction of Parsonage Lane and Rectory Close yet another example has occurred which is causing concern to local residents and Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council. Not only has a beech tree been badly damaged, but bulbs planted by the local community have been uprooted and a flowering cherry tree and pathways and kerbs damaged. Residents nearby claim that the contractors are significantly worse than vandals whose loutish behaviour might lead to the loss of a branch or two, but never to the loss of a complete, mature tree.

Windsor residents cannot be expected to pay for the repair of this damage from the borough's coffers and we trust that financial compensation will be forthcoming from the company responsible.

The Tree Officer from Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council has reported:

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000
Subject: Damage to beech tree in Parsonage Lane, Windsor

Unfortunately the trench was excavated to within 50 cm of the stem of the
tree and down to a depth of approximately 40 cm. It was observed that the
main structural roots on this side of the tree had been severed. There is
no practical way of saving a tree in this condition. The tree is now liable
to windthrow and hence poses a danger to persons and property. Arrangements
will be made to have the tree felled within the next few weeks.

The tree will be replaced in due course and we will be seeking compensation
from the Contracting firm for this and for the removal of the tree and any
loss of amenity suffered as a result. We will keep you informed.

Arboricultural Officer

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Leisure Services Unit, York Stream House
St. Ives Road, Maidenhead. SL6 1QS
Tel: 01628 796094 Fax: 01628 796121

Trench causes damage to tree roots

The area at the foot of the affected Beech tree.

The filled in trench

The scene left by the contractors after digging the trench
that severed the Beech tree's roots.

We have received the following from the Clewer Village group <clewer@themutual.net>
on Saturday, 18 Nov 2000.

The group are particularly concerned that the company responsible are guilty of "institutionalised vandalism... they should be stopped immediately." The group also believe that the company should be required to pay compensation. They have come up with the following figures for compensation and are seeking the comments of WMBC.

1 Beech tree £25,000 1 Cherry tree £12,000 Bulbs [many] £1,000
Damaged pavements/kerbs etc £150,000 Total £188,000

19th December 2000 Update

Contractors were called in on December 19th 2000 to fell the tree, the damage to which has angered so many local residents. Following the damage to the roots described above it was found that the tree had to be felled as it represented a danger to pedestrians and traffic passing beneath.

Tree felling LS

In the company of the Windsor Observer photographer and Meridian Television, tree fellers commence the task of felling the 80 year old Beech tree. Having removed the branches, a Landmark Tree Surgery operative starts to saw off lengths of the trunk and send them hurtling to the ground. For all who watched the work as it progressed it was a sad sight. And totally unnecessary, for with just a modicum of care, the cable laying could have been completed without the loss of this magnificent tree that had been standing on this spot for almost the whole of the last century.

50 feet up!!

It is to be hoped that the local council are successful in prosecuting the cable laying firm responsible and at least restoring the area for the enjoyment of residents in the future.

The tree is taken away...

The tree is loaded up...

The tree is gone...

...and taken away.

Just the stump!

All that remains of an 80 year old Beech Tree...


UPDATE 14th September 2001

The local newspaper, The Observer, reported that the responsible company, Broadband Services International, were fined £10,000 for irreparably damaging a tree upon which a Tree Preservation Order was in force.

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