Berkshire

Sonning Cutting railway tree-felling 'is carnage'

Before and after at Sonning Cutting Image copyright Google and Geoff Horwood
Image caption The work has been carried out over the last two weeks

"Carnage" is being created by a rail firm that is cutting down trees along lines near Reading, residents claim.

The trees are being felled for the electrifcation of the line at Sonning Cutting.

In a letter to Network Rail (NR), nearby resident Geoff Horwood said he was "horrified" to see the work.

NR said the uncommon depth of the cutting dictated more trees needed felling, but work has been suspended temporarily for a site inspection.

'What about wildlife?'

A spokesman said there was also a "wider programme going on of vegetation removal across the network to reduce maintenance and improve reliability".

He added notification letters for residents may not have been clear about both projects and the work had been halted.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "What about the wildlife which will be displaced? What about the stability of the embankment? What about all those wonderfully old trees?

"I feel very sad and emotional to lose all those amazing centuries-old trees and wonderful wildlife."

Image copyright Geoff Horwood
Image caption The trees in the cutting are less than 150 years old and are not subject to preservation orders

Network Rail owns the land and as there are no council-imposed tree preservation orders on the site the company is able to clear the area.

The cutting to the east of Reading is a mile long and more than 60ft (18.2m) deep. It was opened in 1840.

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