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Anger as blundering council contractors mark up trees in private woodland near NDR Western Link route

PUBLISHED: 16:12 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 30 October 2019

Simon Flett, one of the owners of St Peter's Woods, near the route of the mooted NDR Western Link. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Simon Flett, one of the owners of St Peter's Woods, near the route of the mooted NDR Western Link. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Angry owners of woodland along the route of the mooted Norwich Western Link to the NDR have hit out at council bosses - after surveyors went on to private land to mark up trees.

White dots appeared on trees in St Peter's Wood in Ringland, close to where the council's preferred route for the Western Link would pass, earlier this week.

That woodland is not public land, but is owned by a syndicate of six people.

And those owners took to Twitter to express their anger that surveyors had gone on to their land without their consent or notice to mark ancient trees.

They feared it was to mark up trees for felling when the road is constructed.

Norfolk County Council has apologised for the mistake by their contractors.

A spokeswoman said: "This was an honest mistake. We're really sorry that this has happened and for any distress caused.

"Surveyors working on our Norwich Western Link project were carrying out topographical surveys in the area and mistakenly strayed into two neighbouring areas of land.

"The marking of trees was to indicate trees that need to be assessed by a specialist in the future, not to identify trees that need to be felled.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Neil DidsburyNorwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"We're contacting the landowners of the two pieces of land to apologise and reassure them that we're putting better checks in place to ensure this doesn't happen again."

But Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis, who is opposing the Western Link, said it was "like one of those spaghetti western undertakers, measuring up their next 'customer' whilst still in the land of the living".

He said: "Destroying this ancient, bio-diverse wood for yet another carbon/pollution generating road is a crime against future generations."

Norfolk County Council's cabinet picked the preferred route for the road in the summer.

The £153m road, which would need to secure funding and permission, would run for 3.9 miles, including on a viaduct over the Wensum Valley.

It would go from the A1067 Fakenham Road, between Weston Longville and Ringland, linking to the A47 at a new junction at Wood Lane, near Honingham.

Council bosses acknowledge it would lead to woodland loss, but have said there would be a "compensation strategy".

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