More than 1,000 people sign petition against felling of village trees

Farmer Michael Keeler at Spratts Green where thousands of pounds worth of hedge has been stolen from

Farmer Michael Keeler at Spratts Green where thousands of pounds worth of hedge has been stolen from their family field. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Almost 1,200 people have signed a petition against the felling of more than 300 trees alongside a village road.

Farmer Michael Keeler has applied to the Forestry Commission for a licence to remove 333 trees on land lining Shortthorn Lane in Stratton Strawless, near Norwich.

He said doing so would help prevent anti-social behaviour and instances of cars being damaged by falling branches - and pledged to replace the trees he removed on a different part of his land.

However, a petition urging the Forestry Commission to refuse the licence was set up last week and has already received almost 1,200 signatures.

The plans to fell more than 300 trees in Stratton Strawless have sparked objections.

The plans to fell more than 300 trees in Stratton Strawless have sparked objections. - Credit: Google

It was started by Ann George, of neighbouring Horsford, who said losing the trees would be "devastating" to any wildlife in the area.

She said: "Living where I do in Horsford I have seen so much development in recent years and can see the devastation it has for wildlife.


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"The trees themselves along Shortthorn Lane do not case any major problems and they make up a really nice hedge, so I just thought it was worth saving."

The petition was set up on Friday, March 26 and as of Tuesday afternoon had been signed 1,180 times.

Ms George added: "The response I have had has been truly amazing. I thought maybe I would get a couple of hundred people signing, but never thought it would pass 1,000. 

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"It just goes to show how strongly people in the area feel about it - not just in Stratton Strawless but all the villages around it. People have really got behind the cause."

However, speaking last week, Mr Keeler said he regularly dealt with branches falling into the road and that the trees were in need of maintenance, with them having grown into barbed wire.

He said: "We will replant a slightly larger area with native trees on the north side of the same field. This will have the added benefit of screening the remains of the old scrap yard that adjoins the field.

"As farmers, we are always trying to encourage wildlife and this is a massive part of what we do."

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