Tree removal anger at Rainham Bretons Leisure Center
2:41 PM March 25, 2022
The removal of a line of trees in Rainham has been described as ‘devastating’ by a passerby who witnessed the work while visiting nearby playgrounds.
Situated at the southern end of the Bretons outdoor leisure centre, the area has experienced flooding problems in the past, with housing estates and houses nearby.
Havering Council said the work was needed to install a drainage ditch and ‘mitigate flooding on nearby housing estates and properties’.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was “devastated” by the scene.
While visiting the playgrounds on March 22, he said he discovered – to his “horror” – that Havering Council contractors were “just pulling trees out of the ground and dumping them in a big pile”.
He alleged that most of those being removed resembled living trees, many of which were a foot or two in diameter.
“They don’t just thin out the forest, they devastate it and push the trees out with an excavator,” he said. “Some trees were more than 50 centimeters in diameter. They seem to destroy all the wood.”
A Havering Council spokesperson confirmed the trees, which are part of the adjacent woodland, have been felled “so we can fit a drainage ditch”.
“The works will help mitigate flooding on nearby housing estates and properties,” they added.
While acknowledging the area’s flooding problems and the need for a solution, the resident questioned the law in light of the local authority’s climate action goals.
“Everyone is talking about planting trees these days,” he said. “They’re talking about wildlife habitats and they’ve probably destroyed quite a few of them in one strike.
“I think it’s just a shame to fell perfectly good wood.”
In response, the council’s spokesperson said: “The council is committed to having more trees in the borough and we are currently in the process of identifying where trees can be planted in the future. .
“This is in addition to the 4,000 trees planted as part of the Covid Memorial at Hornchurch Country Park.”