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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 March 2008, 19:26 GMT
Tree cut bid 'threatens wildlife'
stretch of River Thames
The PLA has already begun to cut down trees from the area
Wildlife is threatened by a move to cut trees from a five-mile stretch of the River Thames, campaigners have said.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is concerned that roots from hundreds of trees on the south-west London stretch damage the bank's flood defences.

A PLA spokesman said: "It's our view that the only course of action is to remove these trees."

But charity Wildlife Aid said the move would deprive numerous birds and animals of their nesting sites.

Breeding season

The PLA has begun to cut down trees from the area which they fear compromise the bank's protective wall.

Spokesman Jim Trimmer said: "These trees are primarily self-seeded trees, they are not the mature specimens that can be seen on the back of the tow path."

But Wildlife Aid head vet nurse Sarah Cowan criticised the "drastic course of action".

"It is the beginning of the breeding season for all the birds and mammals that nest in the trees," she said.

Imogen Stubbs
It destroys this area completely
Imogen Stubbs, actress

"To carry out this work at this time of year is probably quite irresponsible and leaving a lot of the animals without their nesting sites and having to move off."

Actress Imogen Stubbs and designer Jasper Conran, who live nearby, are among those who are also convinced that felling the trees is not the answer.

"It destroys this area completely - it destroys the environment, the bird life, the animal life, the beauty for the millions of people who use it," the actress said.

"And when it's done, it's done - there's no going back on cutting down a tree."

The PLA said it would carry out further consultations before any more work was done to the bank.

Locals protested against the move

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16 Mar 08 |  England

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