Tree protection order for historic oaks in Sydenham Hill Wood

Josh Salisbury (27 January, 2021)

The order lasts for six months

33244(c) Save the Footbridge Oaks campaign

Historic oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood have been spared the chop after planning permission was refused.

The oaks, which straddle either side of Cox’s walk bridge, had been due to be chopped down so that the council could carry out repairs to the bridge.

A fierce campaign was launched to save the historic oaks – and now a tree protection order has come into force which saves the trees from the axe for at least six months. The order came into force on January 19.

It represents a defeat for the council, which had previously gone all the way to the High Court to move protestors who blocked council machinery from felling the trees.

“We are accountable to the public and working on their behalf to make the woods accessible to all, via the bridge,” said Cllr Catherine Rose, the council’s environment boss.

“As with every council decision, there are people who agree and disagree, and we listen to all these voices.

“The public interest in this means that we have a provisional Tree Preservation Order in place, halting the required works, while we look at the next steps forward.”

Campaign group Save the Footbridge Oaks, have hailed the move as a great success for their campaign.

One activist, Claire Sheppard, told the News last week: “This gives all of us some much needed hope in what is a very hard January.

“The findings of the report really seem to see the value of the trees and this makes me hope that after two years of inaction Southwark are finally starting to see sense and connect their actions to the climate emergency.”

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