Local authority chops down 800 trees by accident

A Berkshire council has apologised after it accidentally cleared hundreds of saplings planted by volunteers in one of its parks.

The saplings had been planted over two years between 2016 and 2017 in Palmer Park, Reading.

But shortly after they had been planted, Reading Borough CouncilI’s maintenance team accidentally uprooted the young trees on a routine clearance of undergrowth, the council confirmed. 

The council said the saplings were untagged and not clearly visible amongst the nettles and brambles when the area was cleared.

Reading councillor for culture, heritage and recreation  Karen Rowland said that, to “put the situation right”, a selection of larger trees would be planted in a "suitable location" within the park. 

She said that these would have “a far greater chance of reaching maturity”, with a particular focus on trees that support wildlife and increase the diversity of species present in the park. 

She added that lessons had been learned and apologised to the volunteers involved in the planting.

The saplings had been donated by the Woodland Trust. 

A spokesman for the trust said it had been “disappointed” to hear of the loss of the saplings and had contacted Reading Borough Council with a view to getting the trees replaced this planting season.

He said the trust was also in discussions to plant more trees elsewhere in the borough to address the current “climate and nature emergency.”

A council spokesman said that over the last decade it planted more than 1,800 new trees across the borough.

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