Andrew Rosindell M.P. for Romford has today spoken directly to Network Rail, expressing his concerns in the strongest possible terms about the decision to cut down trees along the railway lines between Romford to Gidea Park and from Romford to Upminster, on the ‘push and pull’ line.
After a heated conservation between the M.P. and Network Rail officials, it was confirmed this evening that Network Rail had agreed to Andrew’s request to halt all further work until after a consultation with local people and their elected representatives has taken place.
The M.P. and local Councillors were not notified about Network Rail’s plans to remove trees and local people are shocked and angry by the actions of the train operator.
Andrew welcomes the fact that Network Rail have listened to his concerns and agreed to give local people the chance to express their concerns before any more trees are lost.
While he regrets that Network Rail did not do this in advance, he is pleased they have understood the impact on local residents and the widespread opposition that exists throughout Romford.
Andrew Rosindell M.P. said:
“The decimation of trees along the railway line is unacceptable. Network Rail should not be doing this without providing justification for their actions.
I am outraged by their handling of this situation and have made my views known in no uncertain terms to Network Rail officials today.
I spoke with Network Rail advising them to stop their desecration of the trees along the railway line.
They started work having conducted no consultation with me, or any other local representatives and very little consultation with local people, apart from a letter before Christmas, which I was never shown.
The consultation has been totally inadequate and was apparently limited to a poorly advertised Zoom meeting a short time before the work started.
It is shocking that this is happening to what is a green lung of Romford and Hornchurch and Network Rail’s behaviour in pressing ahead with this, has been outrageous.
Following my intervention today, I am glad to hear that the work is to be halted immediately in order to perform a proper consultation with local people.
Some of the oak trees along the railway line are, I am told, hundreds of years old and it would be an absolute tragedy to lose this heritage and endanger so many natural habitats.
We should be doing everything in our power to stop the destruction of the natural environment in our area and I will not stand by and watch this happen.
Squirrels, badgers, foxes and several species of birds that reside in these habitats could be needlessly destroyed by Network Rail’s proposed works programme, that is why I am calling for an agreed solution to end this destruction.
I appreciate that there are concerns of autumnal leaf fall from Network Rail, but apart from that, there have been very few incidents concerning trees falling onto the track, trains or overhead lines.
Network Rail have failed, so far, to publish the ecological survey of the area along the tracks and have failed to provide the result of the drone assessments they have carried out which it is claimed identifies which trees may be problematic or dangerous.
I have received hundreds of e-mails, phone calls and social media messages from constituents and they are clear that Network Rail is causing an utter catastrophe in our area by failing to explain the consequences and the magnitude of their work.
Nobody wants to see trees unnecessarily culled, especially ones that are crucial to residents in providing privacy from commuters and those using the station, as well as shielding houses along the track from noise and light pollution.
My worry is that there appears to be a blanket policy of culling historic trees, vegetation and natural habitats rather than a targeted approach, protecting the environment, as well the needs of the railway operator.
Many residents rely on the trees to give them privacy from commuters using the railway and its stations. It is unacceptable to me that Network Rail has not taken this into account and has proceeded with the destruction anyway.
The only way we can resolve this is by Network Rail halting work immediately and agreeing to meet for a proper and meaningful consultation with local residents, local stakeholder groups and elected representatives. I am pleased they have now done this.
I will not let this damaging plan proceed without a fight and stand ready to engage in sensible discussions with Network Rail to find an acceptable resolution.”