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Anger over the loss of ancient woodland to make way for Perth development

Callum Gillies at the site of the felled trees.
Callum Gillies at the site of the felled trees.

A Perth councillor has been “bombarded” with complaints after nearly 500 trees were cut down as part of a controversial roads project.

Locals claim that the scale of tree felling in ancient woodland near the crematorium was far more extensive than they had been led to believe.

Prior to the work being carried out the council had said they were unable to say how many trees would be cut down but said the contractors had been told to preserve “as many as possible”.

The area between McDiarmid Park (on the left) and Perth Crematorium has been cleared of trees.
The area between McDiarmid Park (on the left) and Perth Crematorium has been cleared of trees.

Councillor Callum Gillies said he had been inundated with complaints from people who felt they had been misled.

“We were not expecting anything like this,” said Mr Gillies on a site visit.

“I didn’t expect it to be as severe as this. I was against this route for the road from the word go due to the encroachment on the crematorium. I think it could have gone somewhere else.

“If they had been upfront and said how many trees were coming down I think there would have been a lot more trouble getting this through council.”

He said he was encouraging the dozens of people who had contacted him to complain in writing to the council.

The tree clearance, which will allow the construction of a new boundary and access for the crematorium which is part of the wider project to construct the A9/A85 junction improvement and link road to Bertha Park, has also angered the Woodland Trust.

“We very much regret the loss of these trees,” said George Anderson of the conservation charity.  “Ancient woodlands are rare and valuable. Their plant and animal communities have developed over hundreds of years so they cannot simply be replaced by planting new trees elsewhere. “

One local dog walker said the number of trees cut down was “nothing short of disgraceful”.

“The loss of trees, including the avenue of mature trees, is far greater than I expected, but what can you do about it now?” he said.

A spokesperson for the council admitted the scale of the felling but said that this was not unexpected.

“In order to construct a new boundary and access for Perth crematorium, it was always planned to fell trees at the edge of the crematorium grounds,” they said.

“The affected trees were mainly in the woodland area along the southern boundary and along the driveway.

“There was also some trimming of lower tree branches along the avenue within the grounds in preparation for a new overflow parking facility.

“In total, around 180 trees and 300 smaller trees have been felled within the crematorium grounds. As planned, covered fencing will be erected over the course of the next week.”

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