In an astonishing, some might say shameful, decision, Stoke-on-Trent council has approved the felling of the trees after residents complained that their houses were too dark...
What is it with people and trees? Why do so many people have an irrational urge to chop down trees at every opportunity? I've written about this problem many times but that's because I believe that felling trees is a nasty human obsession and a very unhealthy one at that.
In the rather pleasant, if unremarkable, suburb of Normacot in Stoke on Trent (UK), you will find Chaplin Road, along which stands a scattering of modest, mature trees. Each one provides shade and much needed greenery in what is considered by some to be a fairly dull neighborhood - and most importantly the trees provide a potential habitat for birds and insects in an otherwise sterile urban environment.
But some of the residents of Chaplin Road are hell-bent on having the trees cut down entirely. Why? Well they say that their homes will benefit from more light with the trees gone.
Am I wrong or are these people clearly uneducated nitwits?
Unfortunately the local council has agreed that eight of the trees can be felled but only if the residents get together to pay for an approved private contractor at a cost of £1700. Which, given their apparent lack of common sense, they probably will.
The trees were surely there when these residents bought their houses, and in what muddle-headed world do these people live when their little lives are consumed with removing trees from their environment – and ours.
But, although I passionately disagree with the home owners who are complaining about the trees (which we must remember do not belong to them but are there for the enjoyment of everybody), it is the council with which I have the biggest problem – why on earth would the council agree to the removal of healthy trees just because a few householders want them hacked down?
Although the council approved the felling “as long as the same number of replacement trees are planted elsewhere in the city”, these are mature trees that will have taken many years to grow and the decision will undoubtedly set a precedent. Unfortunately one can predict that other ignorant residents will ask for permission to cut down the trees in their neighborhoods too.
A sign of the sad times we live in, where people are so disconnected from nature that they don't recognise the value and beauty of trees.
But those of us with any common sense must expose and oppose these mindless plans whenever we see them.
Let's hope the more enlightened people residing in Normacot can persuade their council to see the error of its decision – before more trees are lost forever.
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