No more leaves on line as Network Rail plans massive tree clearance work

NETWORK Rail is to undertake a mass tree and vegetation clearance along the Huddersfield to Manchester train line including the section through Mossley and Saddleworth.

Vegetation by the line at Greenfield

The extensive project includes night time and weekend working.

Network Rail held a public consultation at Greenfield Methodist Church on Monday, September 4 and there is expected to be a future briefing.

Network Rail say the work is needed for future of electrification of the line and to avoid delays caused by leaves on the line.

As a result, the vegetation culling will take place upto 6.5 metres (more than 21 feet) either side of the tracks except where property boundaries fall nearer than this.

Trees whose height is greater than their distance from the track or NR equipment will be removed. Trees and bushes with high leaf fall will also be removed.

Network Rail claim ecological surveys have already taken place to identify protected species and nesting birds and they intend to create new habitats for small animals and insects.

When similar work was undertaken in Kent, residents chained themselves to trees to prevent them being felled.

Network Rail has surveyed more than 10 million trees growing next to 20,000 miles of track in Britain and possesses a database called Offering Rail Better Information Service (ORBIS) helping engineers to target key areas.

In their consultation information NR states: “We understand that removing vegetation from either side of the track will reduce screening from the railway and that noise and night-time lighting during removal work will affect our line side neighbours.

“We have to make safety our first priority so we can’t completely avoid this. But we will make every effort to minimise disruption.

Vegetation by the line at Greenfield

“We will notify you in advance of working in your area to let you know what work in planned near you.

“We will always tell you when we expect work to be noisy so we can keep services running.”

An RSPB spokesperson said: “We recommend cutting hedges and trees is avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds.

“If weather conditions are favourable, some birds may nest outside of this season (and some species such as pigeons will nest all year round).

“At any time, it is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

“We trust that Network Rail are aware of this and will do a thorough check for nests before work commences.”

For more information go online: or call 03457 114141.


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