URGENT work to remove a small group of trees that are presenting a risk to the structural integrity of a railway bridge is to get under way on Monday (4 December).
Seven trees on the railway bridge – which is owned by Network Rail but forms part of New Walk – are now showing signs of decline, after years in an environment where their roots have been restricted.
Leicester City Council’s trees & woodlands manager Dave Jones said: “The condition of the trees means there is now a foreseeable risk of branches falling onto New Walk or onto the railway line, as well as the risk of significant damage to the railway bridge itself.
“With the health and stability of the trees now compromised, it’s essential that these works are carried out as a matter of urgency.”
An agreement in 1976 between the British Railways Board and Leicestershire County Council – which was responsible for the city’s highways at the time – required the local authority to maintain the trees and vegetation on the bridge, and to ensure that the roots of the trees did not damage it.
That responsibility was passed to the city council in 1997 when it became the highways authority for Leicester.
Deputy city mayor for parks & open spaces Cllr Elly Cutkelvin said: “These trees have clearly become a risk to both passers-by and the bridge’s structural integrity, so we have no choice but to remove them.
“In line with our tree strategy, however, we will be replacing them with 14 new trees, which will be planted in more suitable locations within Castle ward.”
In order for work to be carried out safely, sections of New Walk will be zoned off from Monday (4 December), although public access will be maintained at all times.
Work will take around five days to complete.
The city council is committed to protecting and expanding Leicester’s urban forest and plants more than one new tree for every tree that needs to be felled in the city.