ALMOST 500 healthy trees have been chopped down in the Scarborough area within the last five years, new figures have revealed.
Of the 478 trees that were felled in the borough, nearly 100 were pulled down by council employees in the urban Scarborough area.
Steve Reynolds, the council’s environment and countryside manager, said that “very few” of the trees had been replaced in the same locations.
He added: “The reasons for the felling carried out include damage to walls, redevelopment work, new buildings, highways work, drainage work, improvements or redevelopment in parks and open spaces and land stabilisation.”
In the 2010/11 financial year alone, 33 healthy trees were pulled down in Scarborough by the council – five-and-a-half times more than were cut down in Filey and Whitby combined and more than two-and-a-half times more than were cut down in the rural parts of the borough.
Included in the figures are around 150 trees that were cut down in Whitby as part of the redevelopment of Pannett Park in 2008/09.
A total of 168 of the trees which were cut down by Scarborough Council were felled on behalf of Yorkshire Coast Homes, Parish Councils and North Yorkshire County Council. The council did not say where in the borough these trees had been cut down.
The council said that “extensive” planting of trees was carried out by voluntary groups across the borough, but could not say how many trees had been planted.
The information, made public under the Freedom of Information Act, comes after Throxenby Lane resident Charles Betty stopped a horse chestnut tree outside his home being cut down by the council. He prevented its destruction after he stood under the tree. That area is known locally as Conker Lane.
The council said the decision to chop the 150-year-old tree down had been made because they had received complaints about falling branches and conkers.
It is now hoped that the one tree will be saved, after the council agreed to delay the work and seek further discussions with its owner, North Yorkshire County Council. A meeting has been scheduled for later this month to decide its fate.
However, Mr Betty said he still has concerns about the council’s wider policy on tree felling, saying he feared Scarborough could become an “urban wasteland” if too many were destroyed.