Residents in Scone have held a ceremony to “bless” trees that are set to be felled as part of the Cross Tay Link Road project.
Locals say they are “horrified” at the loss of trees at Highfield Plantation, which are being cut down to make way for the new route.
Preparatory ground clearance is getting under way this week as part of the £118 million project.
But some opponents fear the scheme will devastate the countryside.
Vanessa Shand, chairperson of Scone and District Community Council, says residents use the woodland often and believes the project could go ahead without the loss of trees.
She is also concerned that locals were only told of that work “when it was too late” – claiming they were handed a letter on Thursday night from a contractor – though the council says it approved the plans months ago.
Vanessa said: “That doesn’t give any time to react or get in touch or ask for more information.
“A big concern is these beautiful big trees that are going to be taken down. I don’t see a reason for them to go.
“We are horrified, it’s a great shame. These woods mean a great deal to villagers.
“They serve a purpose in what they do. We know it takes 20 years for any tree to start removing carbon from the air.
“Unfortunately no one told the red squirrels, buzzards, foxes, deer, pine martens, frogs, rabbits, numerous species of birds, etc.
“It is also a fact that we need green space for our mental and physical wellbeing.”
The Rev Maudeen MacDougall, minister for Scone and St Martins, conducted the service on Sunday, while a piper also played.
So sad. Piper lament for the thousands of trees being felled for the CTLR – a road which will increase traffic & runs through a new development, past a school. Goodbye red squirrels, pine martens, buzzards, ravens, owls, hello air pollution, noise & emissions #Trees #biodiversity pic.twitter.com/RGB4C5LQLy
— Perth and Kinross Greens (@Perth_Greens) January 23, 2022
But Perth and Kinross Council insists it will replace the trees that are cut down.
A spokesperson said: “Localised tree felling will take place along the planned Cross Tay Link Road route in accordance with the planning permission granted in October 2021.
“Details of the tree areas affected were included in the environmental impact assessment submitted with the planning application and surveys show that these are between four and 50 years old.
“All comments received on this aspect of the plan were fully considered as part of the application process.
‘More trees will be planted than felled’
“Replacement planting will be undertaken within the surrounding area as part of the project.
“In total more trees will be planted than felled during this project, with the new trees including more native species to enhance biodiversity within the area.”
Preparatory work at the site is set to continue until March before construction of the road begins in the summer.
Coming under phase two of the Perth Transport Futures project, it includes a bridge being built over the Tay north of Scone and 3.7 miles of new road linking the A9 and the A94.