London

Grange Park railway trees cut by Network Rail

Network Rail has been criticised by a council and an MP for removing hundreds of metres of mature woodland on a railway embankment in north London.

Thirsty trees had dried up the land at Grange Park in Enfield and this risked a derailment, the company said.

But Enfield councillor Chris Bond said Network Rail was "arrogant" and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes pledged to raise the matter in Parliament.

About 400 local residents attended a public meeting against the move.

Network Rail said it would now "explore the options for replanting trees" beside the station, which has services to and from King's Cross and Moorgate.

Mr Burrowes said the whole community felt "betrayed" by the removal of the mature oak and sycamore trees.

"I am committed to hold a debate in Parliament with the transport minister about Network Rail's lack of accountability, focusing on the lack of meaningful consultation, and information on an ecological-impact assessment."

And Mr Bond said the "destruction of this woodland without carrying out a public consultation is unacceptable".

"We have no power over Network Rail doing this, but we can speak out on behalf of our residents, who are rightly furious."

Image caption Several hundred metres of mature trees were removed from the embankment in north London

Network Rail said it had written to residents living along the railway before the work began, explaining what was happening and why.

"We would only ever remove those trees which pose a risk to the safe and efficient running of the railway," said a spokesperson.

"Without this scheme, rail passengers could face delays to their journeys from speed restrictions due to the unstable nature of the railway embankments.

"Ultimately we could see a situation where trains were not able to use this part of the railway because of the risk of derailment."

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