A friend of mine recently mentioned an issue with regard to an area of woodland to the west of the River Alt within Sefton Borough in the Civil Parish of Sefton. The issue is about a carved wooden owl which had, I think, been provided/erected as a piece of public artwork (on a concrete base) probably when the woodland was laid out/created around 2002. The owl has keeled over or even been pulled over as this photo illustrates:-
The area concerened is the green shaded one with the location of the carved owl where the red circle is drawn.
My first thought was, oh that will be a matter to be raised with what was the Forestry Commission, now rebranded as Forestry England. After further thought, other organisations came to mind who had or may have had a hand in the laying out of the various pieces of woodland in this part of Sefton Borough back in the early 2000s, or who hold ongoing maintenance responsibilities. Those other organisations are The Woodland Trust (I think they just coordinated the early 2000s work), Groundwork Trust, Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA) and possibly Sefton Council. I mention MWDA because quite a bit of the land over which the woodland planting was done had previously been used as landfill sites.
A walk in the woods (nothing to do with Bill Bryson’s excellent book I might add) was required to orientate myself and my friend acted as my guide. As we entered the relevant section of woodland this sign came into view:-
Clearly, it has the logos on it of two of the organisations I mention above.
So I fired off an email to pretty much all of the organisations I’ve listed and replies started to roll in. MWDA told me that their responsibilities are only associated with the landfill under the woodland. They thought the relevant part of Groundwork Trust had gone bust around 2005 and that it was possible that Sefton Council had taken on the land. Forestry England confirmed it was not one of their sites and they said they thought it may have passed through the hands of more than one organisation finally indicating that they felt the site was likely to the responsibility of MWDA. They also sent me this updated site plan:-
The area we are looking at above is the green one without a red line around it.
And then yet then another organisation came to mind called Mersey Forest so I emailed them too.
In words used to title the Isaac Hayes album – To be Continued – Keep an eye out for posting two……….
I covered what I understood to the unlicensed felling of trees off and to the north of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road back in August when the felling took place. The site concerned is also adjacent to the Leeds Liverpool Canal I would add.
Land clearance machinery at work on the Lydiate site disgracefully released from the Green Belt by Sefton Council’s nearly complete Local Plan.
In fact the whole site is with Lydiate as Maghull Brook, which is the Maghull – Lydiate boundary, runs right at the end of Turnbridge Road.
My last posting can be accessed via the link below:-
As some weeks have passed since the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Officer visited the site (whom I am told confirmed that the felling was unlicensed) I thought it about time that the Commission’s tree was shaken so to speak. So I asked the Clerk of Lydiate Parish Council to contact them to see what the end result of their investigations is actually going to be. This is what we have found out:-
I understand that the Forestry Commission’s National Office have said that a restocking notice [an order to replant trees] has been placed on the land.
BUT the FC go on to comment on the fact that this piece of land has been identified as development land in the local plan [That’s Sefton Council’s Local Plan] and they are anticipating a planning application may be made for the site. They point out that any decision Sefton’s planners make will overturn the FC restocking notice. On that basis it may well be that the FC tries to work with the local authority and potential planning applicant to get sufficient numbers of trees included in the development.
I suspected that the the end result of the felling and FC investigations would be some form of compromise along these lines. However, considering that Sefton Council did nothing when the trees came down and it was local residents who brought in the FC then we can only hope that some good comes from this sad course of events.
Of course, if Sefton Council had not designated the land for building then the trees would not have been felled at all I assume!
Well the land clearance machinery had all disappeared by last Friday evening but a lot of trees had been felled by then.
This view of the site is from the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath. Uprooted tree stumps can be seen on the far side of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge it.
Many of the stumps have now, I understand, been marked with a number and I am presently assuming that this was done by the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Officer. If I have this wrong please shout.
The highest number on the stumps I understand is 27. I am not sure what girth of stump qualifies as one that collectively would need a felling licence but I suspect that the amount of felling that has taken place would probably have required a felling licence.
BUT DID SEFTON COUNCIL DO ALL THAT IT COULD?
The worrying question is this though. Could Sefton Council have taken some action, to at least pause the felling whilst the Forestry Commission investigated the felling licence issue, by putting temporary tree preservation orders on the trees within this site? If so why did they not do so when first when first made aware of the mass felling of trees earlier last week? This will need to teased out of a local authority that was seeming saying to those who contacted them that they could not do anything.