An investigation is being carried out after more than 25 trees off the A65 in Kirkstall were felled, sparking an angry local reaction, writes Jill Buckley.
Kirkstall Valley Community Association chair John Liversedge described the felling of the trees by the Goitside Walk, next to Commercial Road, as a “scene of devastation” and said that he was “horrified” at what he saw.
The trees in the area adjacent to the flower meadow were felled without notice in an area which is sensitive to wildlife. Volunteers have spent much time in the area clearing it up, particularly since the floods of 2015.
Kirkstall Online posted their concern on Facebook:
“The perpetrators seem unconcerned for the local ecology, planning processes or the community.”
They added that the goit plays an important part in flood alleviation and that the area is important to the community:
“If such actions can go on without censure, how can the Kirkstall community believe their environment is protected and cared for by those with responsibility to do something about it? Are we to wait for someone to bulldoze part of the nature reserve without permission, or decide that there’s too many trees between Abbey Mills and Kirkstall Abbey?”
The Forestry Commission told The Dispatch that the tree-felling was under investigation. In a statement, a spokesperson said:
“We are investigating reports of suspected unlicensed tree felling on the A65 Commercial Road at Kirkstall, Leeds. We are not able to go into further detail while investigations are ongoing.”
Leeds City Council says it is aware of the incident. A spokesman added:
“The council is aware that the Forestry Commission is currently investigating the felling of trees on privately-owned land on Commercial Road in Kirkstall.
“Whilst the council does not hold any responsibility for the trees or the land, we have asked colleagues at the Forestry Commission to keep us informed of their progress and will assist them if required.”
If you have any comments on this matter please forward them to Tim.Hill@leeds.gov.uk who is dealing with the matter.