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Letter: The New Forest turning its back on trees?

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SIR – At Verderers’ Court recently there were impassioned pleas in support of planting trees in Burley for the Queen’s jubilee, though a number of objections were also voiced.

We all await the verderers’ decision.

It was said that the survey of trees lost around Burley in recent storms was wildly exaggerated. I took part in this survey, and can assure you that everything was carefully described and photographed.

Will there be more than one tree planted in Burley for the jubilee? (Picture: Richard Marsham)
Will there be more than one tree planted in Burley for the jubilee? (Picture: Richard Marsham)

If we had wished to exaggerate, we could have included the much larger numbers of trees felled in previous storms. This is not a list of holly bushes and saplings; these are all recent major losses.

It was suggested that this scheme might form a precedent. Well, if the precedent is a 70th jubilee, it will be a very long time before it can be used again.

Any other schemes would quite correctly have to stand or fall on their own merits, not just point to Burley and shout: “Me too!”

Concern was also raised that tree planting would result in loss of grazing or damage to sites for groundnesting birds.

However, if you look at the proposed planting area, one side of the land is bounded by Burley cricket pitch, Burley primary school, and their two car parks (with a reserved space for an ice cream van).

The opposite side is formed by Burley golf course and its car park; on the third side are two busy roads (C10 and Cott Lane) and two more car parks; while on the remaining side there are the Burley golf club buildings and the Scout and Cub buildings, with their campsite and activities.

This small area of scrub has never been grazing land, and considering the vehicles, cricketers, golfers, dog walkers, picnickers and general traffic swarming all around and over the site, any groundnesting bird choosing to land here should have its head examined, and would have no chance of raising a family successfully, trees or no trees.

This week, we have heard Prince Charles advocating a great national tree-planting initiative for the jubilee – the Queen’s Green Canopy.

Is it really possible that the New Forest, of all places, will turn its back on this great opportunity and fail to mark this unique occasion?

Let us hope the verderers will have the vision to approve this modest scheme.

Roger Hutchings,

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