By Kevin Unitt 05/04 Updated: 12/04 10:45
THE “CHAINSAW massacre” of trees on Kenilworth Common has been slammed.
Robin Billington, who lives in the town and said he had enjoyed visiting the common for more than seven decades, spoke out after being appalled by what he called the “chainsaw massacre” of dozens of trees, labelling it a “deliberate act of vandalism” by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and land owners Warwick District Council.
The pensioner told the paper: “Kenilworth Common is not the plaything of a misguided special interest group.
“Though owned by the council on our behalf, it is 'common land' with traditional ancient rights of unfettered access enjoyed by Kenilworth people.
“This desecration of natural woodland does not stop at cutting the trees down as the remains of the felled trees are being used to build fences to block access to ancient paths and areas of the common.
“Chopping down trees in the Amazon is rightly seen as a crime against the environment, but it is no less a crime to chop down trees on Kenilworth Common as after all it is the same planet and the same atmosphere.
In a joint statement by Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the authorities apologised for not adequately explaining the reasons why work was being carried out.
The statement added: “We share Mr Billington's passion and love of Kenilworth Common - we agree with him - this is an important, beautiful and precious place - and we want to keep it special for this and future generations.
“The tree felling is part of an agreed programme to compensate for the access improvement works on the Kenilworth Greenway project.
“The numbers of trees felled are tiny compared to the thousands of trees on the common. The intention is not to remove the trees completely but to achieve a careful balance between grassland and trees where reptiles are found.
“Kenilworth Common is one of the most important places in Warwickshire for reptiles and amphibians and the aim of the work is to maintain a few open sunny areas for the species that live there, including grass snakes, slow worms, lizards, frogs, toads and newts.”
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