WARRINGTON Borough Council has responded to concerns from conservationists over the felling of a number of trees in Padgate and Fearnhead.

A large number of trees have been cut down along Birchwood Way - on the stretch of expressway between Blackbrook Avenue and Crab Lane - in the past few weeks.

And the Warrington Nature Conservation Forum has expressed worries about the work, undertaken as part of plans to improve Birchwood Way.

Chairman Geoff Settle, a former councillor and Mayor of Warrington, said: “I was surprised about the extent of the tree felling that has taken place.

“It prompted a thought in my mind - would any of the tree losses be compensated for by the planting of new saplings somewhere?

“As a member of the Mersey Forest steering group, I know that we have an aim along with the Woodland Trust to plant at least a million trees, but it looks like we have a lot to replace in Warrington with this and various other landowners who are felling trees with gusto across the borough.”

Warrington Borough Council has pledged to plant new trees to compensate for those that have been felled - although specific plans for replanting have not yet been drawn up.

A council spokesman said: "Tree clearance began in February 2018 in advance of the main contract due to the need to avoid the bird nesting season.

"Between 80 to 100 larger trees were removed - it is probable that these were trees planted 30 to 40 years ago by the New Town Commission.

"The existing landscape plans do not allow for replanting of trees in the same location along Birchwood Way, though it does include for the retention of some existing trees as specimen trees on the College Place roundabout.

"We fully recognise the importance of trees to the environment and the landscape appearance of Warrington and particularly Birchwood.

"For this reason, we have been liaising with the Mersey Forest steering group for suitable locations for replanting elsewhere in east Warrington.

"This is something we are keen to progress and action following the completion of the main works contract later in 2019, and this would be funded by the overall project budget."

Mr Settle added: “It sounds like they haven’t given it much thought yet, with not even a ballpark figure.

“But at least the work has been done before the bird breeding season commences, unlike several building contractors or prospective planning applications.”