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Network Rail's 'chainsaw massacre' just outside Newmarket criticised by villager

A furious resident has accused Network Rail of a ‘chainsaw massacre’ after workmen cut down a long-standing mature healthy tree close to a railway line.

Bob Windsor, who has lived in Six Mile Bottom for more than 30 years, said the tree and shrubbery removal work took place along either side of the railway line starting about 1,000 metres north of the now defunct Six Mile Bottom station.

“I questioned the crew why they deemed it necessary to remove seemingly healthy trees, fully expecting them to trot out the old chestnut about leaves on the line, which predictably they did,” said Bob.

Felled trees at SMB (21472097)
Felled trees at SMB (21472097)

“I did plead with the crew to perhaps use a bit of initiative in that the sycamore tree was leaning away from the track and appeared to be at least 10 metres from it, but then, when my wife and I were alerted to the dreaded sound of the chainsaw and the wood mulcher, I returned to where the sycamore had been standing, just as it was felled, truly heartbreaking.”

He added: “Mindful that councils and corporations are becoming more aware of their environmental obligations and that we’re all being made aware of our carbon footprint, this action by Network Rail seems to fly in the face of looking after the environment.

“The trees were indeed healthy with white wood and no signs of decay and highly unlikely to have presented any likelihood of them falling or indeed fouling an overhead phone line.”

He said the station at Six Mile Bottom had been closed since 1967 so no trains actually stopped there anymore.

“When trains used to have small wheels they could spin on leaves but not today. They speed through here at 70mph so the argument that these trees could have caused a problemdoes not really hold water.”

A spokesman for Network Rail (Anglia) said: “We manage vegetation around tracks to maintain a safe and reliable railway for passengers. Vegetation management also helps prevent leaves falling on the line, which can affect train acceleration and braking, and delay trains during the autumn months.

“Tree preservation orders, normally issued by local planning authorities, were not applicable to these particular trees.

“We are very aware of the impact that removing trees can have on local communities.”

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