More than 700 people have joined a rallying call for supermarket chain Aldi to back down on its decision to fell trees at an upcoming Broughty Ferry store.
The budget supermarket remains committed to the felling despite mounting pressure from residents and officials in the city.
The trees run along the A92 near Tom Johnston Road, where the new store will be built.
St Andrews conservation student Anna Kellner was moved to start a petition after reading about Jeannie Cooper’s fight with Aldi to save the trees.
Anna’s petition has now garnered about 700 signatures.
Why did Anna join the fight?
“I saw people commenting on Facebook, saying it’s just tree hugging and ‘get a job’ and that’s when I decided to start the petition,” the 23-year old said.
“I didn’t really expect to get any signatures, but to get 700 shows that people really care.
“We all have a responsibility to try and protect any little bits of nature that we have.”
Anna is a postgraduate student at St Andrews University, researching how woodlands are valued in Scotland.
She previously completed a Batchelors degree at the university in ecology and conservation.
Anna’s love of the natural world came at a young age. Aged eight, she wrote to former Prime Minister Tony Blair about badger culling.
She visited the Aldi Broughty Ferry site with Jeannie to see for herself the habitat that is at risk.
“It may seem unimportant if you’re just passing by, but it is a thriving piece of land.
“I think Aldi should think again. They’re supposed to be environmentally friendly.”
Also joining the calls to save the trees is local councillor Kevin Cordell.
He wrote to Aldi asking them to consider other options.
He said: “While it may be a relatively small area, in the local context it is a very important one.
“It is a home for a number of bird species and other wildlife and residents feel its removal is something that should not be allowed to happen.
“Every bit of wildlife habitat is important and when, globally, we are losing vast areas every day it is incumbent on us all to ensure we preserve as many green and wild areas as possible.
“I hope we can all work together and this wild area can be preserved into the future.”
Dundee City Council originally rejected the plans for an Aldi store on the site, saying it was earmarked for industrial use.
However, this was overturned on appeal by the Scottish Government.
Standing up for the birds’ home
Broughty Ferry conservation expert Jeannie Cooper started the campaign to stop Aldi cutting the trees.
She has been walking the area for nearly 20 years and enjoyed watching various bird species, such as blue tits and swallows.
Jeannie is thrilled that so many people have backed her fight.
She said: “I was very encouraged to speak to Anna and hear of her support for saving this important local habitat.
“Her online petition has already raised hundreds of signatures, which highlights how passionate people are about stopping such destruction.”
Jeannie made clear she is not against the new store, but feels the felling is unnecessary.
The trees sit at the boundary of the plot of land, away from where the store or car park will be built.
Will Aldi reconsider?
The supermarket chain remains determined to remove the vegetation.
A spokesman said: “Our planning application included a full environmental report and secured significant public support.
“In line with the planning consent granted, we will begin construction of our new store towards the end of 2022 and plan to open the store in 2023.”
The store will create about 35 jobs, the spokesman added.