Network Rail has been accused of having “contempt for the local community” after pressing ahead with plans to cut down hundreds of trees along the railway line in Perth.
Residents of Glover Street and politicians met with rail representatives last month to object to the felling of birch trees that act as a buffer between the residential street and the railway line at Perth Station.
After agreeing to halt work while an ecological study was carried out, Network Rail has now informed residents they will begin to cut down the trees and hope to have the work completed by the end of the month.
In a letter to campaigners the rail company further angered residents by accusing them of fly-tipping on the tree-lined land between the railway line and Glover Street.
Campaigner Alison Napier said: “It is clear that Network Rail have no intention of honouring the requests from the council to postpone tree felling until after the nesting season.
“They have only contempt for the local community and appear to be trying to bully us by accusing us of illegal fly-tipping.
“This is a masterclass in how to alienate a group of local people that they should be engaging positively with.
“And a masterclass in how to put convenience and wanton destruction of the environment ahead of ecological sensitivity and an appreciation of the role that trees play for all of us, and particularly in cities.”
Councillor Willie Wilson, who had previously described the rail company’s approach to the tree felling as “shambolic”, has appealed to Network Rail to alter their decision.
Mr Wilson said: “This is really dispiriting and disappointing news.
“It appears on the face of it that Network Rail can do virtually what they want and the council does not have powers under planning law to stop this.”
In the letter to residents Network Rail wrote: “Following concerns from some residents, we held a meeting with the local councillor and discussed our proposed work, clarifying the reasons and methods.
“We also employed a specialist to carry out a detailed ecological survey.
“The results are now back from that study and we are now able to commence with the remainder of the work, including tree cutting.
“A daily check will be made on trees for nests.
“Disappointingly, part of the survey identified a significant amount of fly-tipped domestic waste.
“This highly anti-social behaviour not only blights the railway environment but the rubbish dumped can be used by vandals to obstruct or cause damage to passing trains.”
Network Rail wants to remove the trees to make room for a storage facility as its current yard will be used for a new ScotRail development.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are carrying out work to clear our yard in Glover Street and part of this includes removing the trees on our land.
“Following further surveys, we are now commencing with the tree cutting.”