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Extinction Rebellion plans new protest after developer reveals centuries-old oak trees will be axed

PUBLISHED: 05:25 29 May 2020

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion began protecting the trees in Thurston in March Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion began protecting the trees in Thurston in March Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Extinction Rebellion (XR) is to mount a fresh protest to protect centuries-old oak trees which are set to be axed, despite authorities saying they could be saved.

The protestors say the trees do not need to be removed to make way for any development Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe protestors say the trees do not need to be removed to make way for any development Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Persimmon Homes has planning permission to remove two oak trees in Ixworth Road, Thurston, to make way for a new cycle and footpath as part of their adjacent College Park 250 homes development.

The developer says it is imperative they are removed, as they would present a road safety issue - but protestors are planning to protect them again from next week.

XR protestors began shielding a number of trees, believed to be around 300 years old, along the road at the start of March.

Some protestors even perched themselves in the trees to prevent contractors from commencing work.

Some protestors even climbed the trees to prevent them from being axed Picture: ARCHANTSome protestors even climbed the trees to prevent them from being axed Picture: ARCHANT

MORE: Extinction Rebellion climb in oak trees to protect them from being axed for new path

The plan appeared to have succeeded after Mid Suffolk District Council said they would “explore other options” for the path that would not require any trees to be removed.

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However Persimmon has now written to Thurston residents explaining their intention to commence work on felling two of the oak trees closest to the housing development.

The developer also confirmed it is still looking at developing an alternative plan that would retain some trees near Thurston Community College, in Ixworth Road, and have said another in the road is being retained.

A Persimmon spokesman said: “Work will resume on June 1 to complete the tree clearance started in February, in line with the planning consent for the College Park development.

“We would like to thank everyone who has worked with us to reach a solution which satisfies all parties, especially the local residents for their patience and understanding.”

In response, XR protestors have announced they plan to head back to Ixworth Road on Monday to prevent the trees being axed, believing retaining them would not present any visibility issues to drivers.

Jen Tooke-Marchant, who shielded the trees in March, said: “Public opinion is strongly opposed to any more felling of trees.”

Wendy Turner, Green Party councillor for Mid Suffolk, added: “Preservation of trees has to be at the centre of our aim to be carbon neutral, along with the safety of walkers and cyclists.
“The planning decision to allow Persimmon to fell the trees was given a few years ago, and since then the government and our own local council have declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, which should now be taken into consideration.”

MORE: Extinction Rebellion tree-climbing protest forces council into rethink over path


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