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Verderers urged to revisit Burley's jubilee trees refusal

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THE verderers have been urged to reconsider a decision to refuse a tree planting scheme in Burley to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

Members of Burley Parish Council had hoped to join the Green Canopy project which urges people to “plant a tree for the jubilee”.

But fears over incremental loss of grazing for commoning animals led the verderers to reject their application to plant a small corpse of 12 oaks on land at Cotts Lane.

The Verderers' Court in Lyndhurst
The Verderers' Court in Lyndhurst

Instead the parish council was told it could plant just one at the site, which is close to an area where 10 oaks were previously planted in 1977 by the parish to mark the Queen’s silver jubilee.

Now Cllr Robert Clarke, a former tree warden in Richmond and a longstanding member of Burley Parish Council, has urged the verderers to look again at the decision as he warned against “putting one’s faith in a single small oak tree”.

He claimed 126 trees around the village had been lost as a result of recent winter storms, and declared: “To understand the sheer scale of some of the devastation that has taken place I would invite you to visit Church Lane sometime soon, to see for yourselves the wholesale windblown felling of a large group of aged beech trees.”

Cllr Clarke said the parish council “earnestly believed” that at least 12 initial tree plantings would be needed to create a meaningful copse.

He continued: “Natural England used to tell us that we could safely leave future tree growth to ‘natural regeneration’.

Official Verderer Lord Manners
Official Verderer Lord Manners

“But it should surely now be clear to any close observer that the hunger of Forest ponies, cattle pigs and deer leaves very little chance for vulnerable tree seedlings to grow to maturity.

“And yet the oak in particular make such a contribution to animal welfare and our wider ecology.”

Cllr Clarke said the parish council’s ambition to plant a copse of 12 trees to mark the platinum jubilee was widely supported.

He continued: “Burley villagers wish to be seen by our monarch, and the wider British public as honouring the very long and outstanding service of Her Majesty to this country, knowing that she herself wishes to see the occasion as a real opportunity to increase tree cover of our country to a generous and meaningful extent.”

As reported in the A&T, the minutes of the verderers’ committee meeting in January revealed they had given “very careful consideration” to Burley Parish Council’s initial request.

But it felt it had to be refused in order to “preserve the grazing and vegetation which is vital for the stock and delivers other ecological benefits”.Cllr Clarke concluded by inviting the verderers to join with the parish in supporting the scheme as a “suitable expression of loyalty and appreciation on this unique occasion”.

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