Works are being undertaken on a small number of trees in Totnes.
Ongoing flood defence works in Totnes have seen essential tree works undertaken by the Environment Agency (EA) on land owned by South Hams District Council. As the Totnes community would have seen, works recently commenced in the town and trees and vegetation have been cleared along the river.
Dan Boswell, the Environment Agency’s Project Manager, explains: “Removing some trees in this location has meant that we’ve avoided having to remove trees on both sides of the footpath. This has been a more costly option, however, it has a lesser ecological impact than the alternative.
“As part of compensatory planting, we will be planting more than 300 trees (from whips to semi-mature) to provide greater amenity and biodiversity in affected areas of Totnes. We will also provide a significant number of trees for off-site habitat creation and keep in contact with a number of interested parties to identify further opportunities for planting. Our preference is planting of native trees.”
The District Council has agreed further works to plane trees on The Plains to assist the EA as works continue on the £3.8m flood defence project to protect the town. This will involve removing lower branches to allow access for works to continue on the flood defence wall.
Trees and hedges will be replanted in these areas and the Council will be in touch with local groups and the Totnes Tree Wardens to assist in the replanting when a schedule has been agreed.
Totnes Tree Warden Tommy Hutchinson said: “Hard engineering is essential for combating rising tidal and river fluxes, and combined with soft engineering i.e. tree cover, ground vegetation etc. the local area will see less flooding and bank erosion. Sometimes we have to lose a little to gain a lot.”
Very minor tree works are also scheduled in early April, to remove small amounts of dead wood and reduce tree crowns on a number of trees across the town in response to recent inspections.
A Spokesperson for South Hams District Council said: “With the EA flood defence works and our own general maintenance about to commence we are mindful that a number of tree works will be taking place across Totnes.
“The scheduled tree works we are undertaking are part of the spring schedule of general maintenance in the town, and also to keep the lower branches of some trees from damaging nearby buildings. We’re aiming for an early start, when footfall is at a minimum but a moderate amount of noise should not cause too much disruption while works take place.”
The scheduled programme includes works on the willow on Babbage Road on the industrial estate, the tree situated in Shady Garden, and two trees on Heath Way. Works may also be carried out on the trees along Plymouth Road at Follaton.