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Protesters ‘occupy’ 100-year-old Battersea tree to prevent felling

‘Tree protectors’ have climbed into a 100-year-old tree in York Gardens and are camping out to save it from being cut down.

The black popular was due for felling on Feb 22 to make way for a housing regeneration scheme.

However, two environmental protestors have stayed in the tree’s branches overnight, despite bailiffs serving a note of eviction.

York Gardens, Battersea

The poplar is classified by Wandsworth Council’s tree officers as ‘a tree of high amenity value (category A)’, for which there must be compelling reasons to cut it down.

But Wandsworth Extinction Rebellion member, Caroline Hartnell, said that replacing the tree for an electrical cable, which is part of the new housing project, is unacceptable.

She said: “We are facing a climate and ecological emergency, yet Wandsworth’s green spaces and trees are in constant danger.

“Our demand to Wandsworth Council is a simple one: no mature tree should be cut down anywhere in the borough unless it is absolutely unavoidable, for example it presents a danger to the public.”

York Gardens, Battersea

York Gardens, Battersea

A spokesperson from Wandsworth Council said:

“This important housing scheme is providing 136 new council homes for our residents on low incomes and in housing need, especially those currently living in cramped and overcrowded conditions.

“No-one wants to see mature trees lost but sometimes it’s sadly unavoidable, despite our best efforts in this case to find a suitable alternative solution.

“However, as part of the regeneration scheme we are planting hundreds of new trees around the estate and providing a new 2.5-hectare public park so that residents have newly created green outdoor space to enjoy.

Other residents have voiced their concerns for the tree’s welfare, including York Gardens nursery teacher, Joanna Moran.

York Gardens, Battersea

York Gardens, Battersea

She added: ‘The trees and the green space in York Gardens are really important to the children at nursery and our community. We often take the children to play and explore this area and they love the big tree.

“As well as being beautiful it often supports the children’s learning through the seasons. We wholeheartedly support the regeneration of the area and providing better housing for local people but we would like to see this happen hand in hand with valuing and protecting the natural environment and our beautiful tree.”



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