Trees which “presented a danger to the general public” have won protection from Angus councillors.
A temporary tree preservation order which had been imposed by council officers on woodland at Carlogie, Carnoustie, was continued by elected members who dismissed arguments from the landowner that the trees were unsafe.
Objecting to the order, the landowner, Angus Estates, said an incident in September this year saw one of the trees felled by high winds and land on a public road, an incident which “could well have been a fatality” if it had landed on a passing car
However, councillors heard the woodland makes an important contribution to a landscape framework for development to take place, but its condition had declined in recent years.
The trees had also been damaged by agricultural waste which had been dumped in the area, which had led council staff to instigate a planning enforcement investigation.
The temporary tree preservation order was imposed by planning chiefs without the consent of councillors in order to safeguard the trees from the risk of felling, and took immediate effect in September.
The order only lasts for a period of six months, and councillors must confirm the order before it expires.
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However, Angus Estates objected to the order on the grounds of public safety, and pointed to an inspection carried out for them around four years ago which found that “the vast majority of the trees are approaching the end of their natural life. Many are damaged and dying.”
The objection further highlighted that up to 20 of the trees had been blown down during a gale six years ago, with most of them falling into fields.
Traffic had been diverted for three hours after the tree was discovered until debris was removed, with police attending throughout the clear-up operation.
Planners countered that if the order was not confirmed, then it would expire and the trees could be at threat from felling, or being lost without effective management.
This, they argued, would be detrimental to the amenity of the area, and that upholding the order would ensure the “considerable amenity” that the woodlands provide would be protected.
Elected members voted to approve the order.