ANGRY residents have slammed Highways England for its ‘irreversible obliteration’ of greenery next to the M62.

As part of the work to upgrade the highway to a Smart Motorway, around 50 trees and shrubs have been cut down in between junctions 10 and 11 near Risley.

This land is set to be transformed into an emergency refuge area and an overhead information gantry is also due to be built.

But residents say they are worries about impact on the area, including the loss of habitat for wildlife.

One resident told the Warrington Guardian how the greenery used to be a nesting space for birds, bats, squirrels and hedgehogs but has now been ‘irreversibly destroyed’.

They also noted their dismay over the lack of notification or consultation before ‘obliterating the habitat’ and putting no thought into removing what was previously a sound and air pollution barrier.

“I live around 25 metres away from this disgusting act and already suffer the extra noise it has allowed now the natural barrier has been removed,” they said.

Another resident stated her frustration over the scale of what has been cleared and the impact it will have on the nearby ‘holy land’ as the site is close to a cemetery and war memorial.

“This was supposed to be a partial clearance of vegetation, but Highways England do not appear to have any idea how this has affected the wildlife and residents, nor do they seem to care,” they said.

Warrington Guardian:

The war memorial

“There are no plans to erect noise cancelling barriers or low noise road surfacing on the area in question, which is close to a cemetery and war memorial.

“Rest in peace, I think not.”

In response, a spokesperson for Highways England said: “We needed to clear back some of the vegetation at the side of M62 as part of the major upgrade of the motorway.

READ > Gangs jailed for 120 years over £20m M6 cocaine find

“This is to improve journeys for drivers by adding extra lanes and new technology.

“We carried out detailed ecological surveys to make sure we didn’t disturb any nesting animals and will be planting new trees and shrubs during the project to improve the appearance of the verges.”