A PENKETH resident has complained after a centuries-old tree was felled next to a railway bridge on Stocks Lane.

The tree was removed by Network Rail as part of its vegetation removal programme along the line between Halewood and Sankey for Penketh.

Jo Crawford, who lives opposite the affected area, labelled the action ‘totally unnecessary’ and criticised the alleged lack of information provided to residents about the decision.

Warrington Guardian:

“This at a time when we should be conserving trees, which are homes to thousands of creatures and when we need to protect our environment,” Mrs Crawford said.

“It’s a massive, old oak tree which has been there for hundreds of years – for it to be removed is totally unnecessary.

“My husband used to climb the tree more than 50 years ago – it was one of the old trees in the old orchards on the site.”

However, Network Rail insist the development work is essential in preventing delays for passengers, with regular checks being taken in order to monitor potential effects on wildlife.

“Our vegetation clearance work between Halewood and Sankey is essential to keep the railway safe,” a spokesperson said.

“Recent stormy weather is an important reminder why we have to take vegetation management on the railway seriously.

“Overgrown trees can get blown onto the tracks, causing major disruption to passengers, and the leaves also cause issues during autumn, affecting train braking and acceleration which also causes delays.”

Warrington Guardian:

The spokesperson also dismissed claims the organisation were neglecting the environment, stating that it was sending letters out to keep affected residents informed.

“Daily bird nesting checks are undertaken before any work is done,” he added.

“As one of Britain’s largest landowners, we constantly balance the needs of the environment and our neighbours with the needs and safety of the 4.6m people who use the railway every day.”

For more information, you can visit networkrail.co.uk.