Tree felling to protect electricity supply
John Wilding, Head of Forestry and Environment at landowner Clinton Devon Estates, explained: “For safety reasons, as part of their resilience programme, Western Power Distribution require us to clear the trees on either side of their overhead 11kV power line that supplies electricity to the South Farm community.
“The space between the nearest trees and the power line has to be a minimum of one and a half times the height of the trees. The affected trees are large non-native poplar and Corsican pine, which are at significant risk of blowing over due to their shallow root bowls – a direct result of them growing on top of the capped former tip. Mature broadleaf trees, including oak, which grow along the southern edge of the site, will be unaffected.
“The Forestry Commission has granted us a felling licence but the work could only be carried out after the bird breeding season had finished.
“Once the poplars and Corsican pine have been felled, the site will be left to ‘re-wild’ naturally with native shrub and tree species which, as well as being more resilient to adverse weather, will provide the right habitat for wildlife to thrive.
“I would like to emphasise that this work is being carried out purely to ensure the resilience of the electricity supply to the South Farm area, and is unconnected to the proposed Lower Otter Restoration Project.”