23rd Sep, 2018

Dorridge Wood walkers slam Solihull council's 'woodland management' project

Felix Nobes 13th Mar, 2018 Updated: 13th Mar, 2018

DORRIDGE residents are the second group to express concerns about ‘woodland management’ projects in the borough.

Dorridge Park walkers have reacted to ‘tree thinning’ which Solihull council claims will improve the health of the woodland floor.

But early conservation work has left areas of the wood without any trees and barren mud-land in its place.

The council has assured residents that, although works look ‘drastic’ at this stage, they are ‘confident’ the environment will see the benefits.

Resident Pete Cripps posted images of the aftermath of the conservation works and said: “Hey Solihull Council is this really the way to do ‘woodland management’?

“Dorridge nature reserve looks more like a scene from the Somme today. Large areas completely devoid of trees.

“Who were the contractors that did this and were they checked?”

In April last year, Solihull council was successful with a funding application to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to undertake a wide range of habitat and nature conservation works across the borough.

The council says the application will result in improved conservation status for 121 hectares of habitat.

As we reported last month, there are similar concerns about Elmdon Park where there is tree-felling and thinning happening to regenerate the area.

A Solihull council spokesperson said: “The main aim of the woodland work is to thin up to 30 per cent of the canopy to allow more light to reach the woodland floor.

“This will result in the woodland developing greater structural diversity, improve the health and resilience of the woodlands and allow a more diverse range of native woodland flora to establish.

“In order to achieve this it has been necessary to fell a large number of trees.

“We understand the work does look drastic at this stage.

“However, in the long term we are confident that once the ground flora has re-established we will see the benefits of the work and there will be a noticeable improvement in the health and condition of the woodland once it has recovered from this disturbance.

“All the woodlands management work has been undertaken in the winter months to avoid the bird nesting season.

“For the duration of the works we have closed the woodlands for safety reasons as the presence of large forestry machinery and the resulting deep muddy tracks make it unsafe for members of the public to enter.

“Now the felling and extraction is complete the contractor is in the process of repairing the damage caused by site traffic or otherwise consequent upon the works.”

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