West Leeds residents have been contacting Network Rail with concerns over the cutting back of vegetation around a busy railway line planned for next week.
The work will take place next to an approximately 3.5km long section of the Calder Valley Line that runs from Armley through to Bramley Station.
Network Rail say the work – which is is planned overnight from 14 to 17 July – is essential for the running and safety of the railway and involves the cutting back or removal of low-level shrubbery, bracken, heather, brambles and saplings.
The Armley Trees lineside neighbours network – formed last year following concerns over tree felling and poor communication over work carried out off Armley Park Road – has written to Network Rail to raise concerns over the impact on biodiversity and the environment.
Campaigners have asked Network Rail for improved and meaningful engagement with lineside neighbours, in addition to clear and transparent answers to the local community’s questions and concerns.
They have asked to see the ecology reports and bird nesting surveys which were mentioned in a Network Rail letter to lineside neighbours.
One resident expressed concern that the work will be carried out during the bird nesting season and said:
“I have concerns that the nature corridors in our area, such as the ones along railway lines, are at risk and need protecting.
“From past experience in my own neighbourhood, I do not trust Network Rail, or the contractors they use, to do the right thing with regard to protecting these habitats.”
Network Rail said in a letter to residents:
“This work will only include the removal of low lying vegetation such as brambles, heather and bracken so that staff have safe access to carry our visual examinations of structures safely. These examinations must be carried out for the safety of the operational railway. No mature trees will be removed during this work.
“All relevant ecological surveys will be carried out prior to work commencing. If any nesting birds are identified, then appropriate methods of working will be put in place.”
I really hope NR have done full Japanese Knotweed inspections. There is loads of it on that stretch and the only way to treat it is with weedkiller between now and early September.
If they are going in with flails and strimmers they will be wilfully spreading a known invasive species which is an offence. Doing the work at night increases the risk of disturbing the plant significantly.