Contractor severed tree roots while installing street lights, it is claimed

07:00 14 February 2013

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TREE roots in Brampton were severed using a mini-digger by council contractors installing new street lights, it has been claimed.

The Hunts Post has seen an e-mail from Huntingdonshire District Council officer Brian Ogden, in which he says he “personally witnessed” damage to trees in a conservation area in the village.

He says he stopped the digger operator and pointed out that a precautionary area the distance of four times the trunk circumference should be observed.

“Someone needs to take immediate responsibility for these contractors, to prevent them from causing further damage to trees, and take steps to ensure this does not happen again within the district of Huntingdonshire,” Mr Ogden wrote on Friday.

“I have only seen one small area of work along the Huntingdon Road, and Thrapston Road, Brampton.

“However looking at the programme it seems that works may also be taking place in other areas of Brampton and throughout the district.

“It appears that in this location tree roots have been carelessly ripped up within the Brampton conservation area.

“All trees above a certain size are protected by law.

“I need to ensure that no further damage is caused to any tree within the district of Huntingdonshire during the remainder of this project.

“We have a duty to protect trees, and will not hesitate to issue Tree Prevention Orders for trees on private land adjacent to areas of working, if we cannot have complete confidence in the ability of contractors installing new lighting to identify and avoid damage to trees.”

Mr Ogden said had received a call from Balfour Beatty, who are contracted by Cambridgeshire County Council to carry out work on street lights.

He says he was told the work had been carried out in accordance to guidelines from the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) but Mr Ogden said: “This is preposterous.”

Balfour Beatty had not responded to a request for a comment at the time The Hunts Post went to press.

A CCC spokesman said it was for Balfour Beatty to answer any questions about the standard of its work.

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