War Memorial Gary Trouton


April 2003

Illegal tree felling in spring?

Hello again,

On Tuesday, I read in the Lynn News that a new roundabout was to be constructed at the A134 junction with the A10 at Watlington. Trees in the affected area had been felled earlier because of a law, which prevented trees from being felled in the bird-nesting season. Very good I thought.

Then Maureen and I took the dogs down to the Stoke Ferry Common for their daily walk on the banks of the Great Ouse Relief Channel. If we attempted to walk to the western end of the channel we were confronted by a sign saying Pedestrian Access this way - Heavy plant operating. I spoke to the people involved who told me they were from the Environmental Agency and they were clearing trees and shrubs from the north side of the relief channel. How, I wondered, did this stack up with the announcement in the Lynn News that felling had taken place early at Watlington to comply with a national or local by-law preventing felling during the nesting season?

Then we got talking to other dog walkers in the area. Our mutual predominant concern was if all trees and shrubs were felled, what would happen to the habitat of numerous wild life in our area? Was this the reason we had not seen our magical Kingfishers for the past month? Others advised us that the felling operations had been on-going for at least three months with no perceptible sign of progress. So what could we do? One lady specifically requested that I raise the issue in the Village Pump! She felt that the magazine offered by far the most likely vehicle for drawing the attention of our community to this potential vandalism and, therefore, the best chance of getting something done to stop it.

So, should we at the local level, be taking our so-called masters to task? After all, from April, we will all pay far more in Council Tax and it could be suggested, therefore, that we are entitled to obtain from our elected councils better value for money. But who controls the Environmental Agency? It now comes under the wing of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, or DEFRA for short. Its Minister used to be the Deputy Prime Minister, two-Jags Prescott, but is now that denizen of the Caravan Club, Margaret Beckett. But if the plight of the people of Happisburgh is anything to go by, the chance of getting her or that genial giant Elliot Morley interested are about good as Manchester United being relegated from the Premier Division. So what can we do?

I think in the first instance we should bombard our local MP with our concerns; then perhaps we should write to dear old Purfleet of the Lynn News and get him on board. Maybe our readers have more ideas; if so, please let me have them. It is time to make our elected leaders accountable!

On a local front, I for one am pleased to welcome back Les Lawrence. He has submitted what he promises to be his final letter on the on-going debate and a very sensible article on Parish Councils. I know that feeling has run high regarding his scheme for making the Village Pump into a national treasure, but I honestly believe we need his light hearted humour as a balance to our monthly output.

Next month we will be well and truly into spring! Why not let me have your local anecdotes on how to recognise that spring has sprung?

Ray Thompson

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