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Council demands action to preserve trees near Perth Crematorium

How the new A9/A85 junction could look.
How the new A9/A85 junction could look.

The construction firm leading a £35 million overhaul of Perth’s roads network has been reprimanded by council officers after failing to fully protect trees near the city’s crematorium.

Balfour Beatty was ordered to take urgent action over a breach of planning conditions, or face a £1,000 penalty.

Concerns were raised that ongoing work on the A9/A85 junction were putting trees on the old crematorium road at risk.

Perth and Kinross Council accused the firm of not putting in place the tree protection plan it had agreed to when planning consent was passed in 2016.

Balfour Beatty was given seven days to put fencing in place to safeguard trees, as well as set up a construction exclusion zone to further protect underground roots.

A tree expert was also brought in to assess the impact on a grove of six trees on a section of the crematorium road where tarmac was removed.

A local authority spokeswoman said they were now happy that the company had taken steps to address the complaint and that none of the protected trees were affected.

During the first stage of the work early last year, the council was bombarded by complaints over large-scale tree felling near the crematorium. The work, which involved the removal of about 500 trees, was formally part of work to create a new access road for the crematorium.

The council’s spokeswoman said: “The breach of condition notice serviced on Balfour Beatty relates to two elements: Tree protection fencing across the A9/A85 junction site for preservation of the root protection zone, as well as specific works on a small section of the former Perth Crematorium road where tarmac road surface was removed.

“There is no impact on the crematorium grounds from the notice.”

The council confirmed that the company had now carried out a site-wide review of fencing.

“A follow-up inspection has also been carried out with confirmation given that the fencing provision on site is satisfactorily compliant with planning conditions for ongoing and planned works,” she said.

“The contractor has also arranged for arborist to visit and inspect the section of former crematorium road. The visit has confirmed that the adjacent trees – six in total – have not been adversely affected by the removal of tarmac.”

She added: “We will continue, as would be appropriate for a project of this scale, to monitor compliance with the agreed planning conditions.”

A Balfour Beatty spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “Our fencing is now fully compliant with the agreed planning conditions and the six trees located adjacent to the former crematorium road have not been adversely affected by ongoing works.

“We carried out a full review of our planning approach following the breach of condition notice, and have made the necessary changes to be compliant in all areas. We will submit our full report to the Council’s Enforcement Officer in due course.”

She added: “Balfour Beatty takes great care to position the environment at the heart of what we do and in the solutions we provide to our customers. We want to leave a lasting positive effect on the communities in which we operate.”

Construction on the new roads got under way in October 2016. The project will provide a crucial new link to development land at Bertha Park which is earmarked for thousands of new houses and a secondary school.

The new road is expected to open in March next year.

 

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