A 50-foot-high willow tree has fallen in the river at Hartford

Tree that has fallen into the Great Ouse river PICTUR

Tree that has fallen into the Great Ouse river PICTURE: Mike Humphrey - Credit: Mike Humphrey

Huntingdonshire District Councillor Mike Humphrey and Chairman of Conservation Group in Hartford, Mike Shellens have both expressed their concerns.

A 50-foot high willow tree has fallen into the River Great Ouse at Hartford and is causing major concern.

The tree, which is close to All Saints Church, has fallen and split, depositing its trunk and branches into the river.

Regular river users have pointed out that a water surge from upstream will pile debris around it creating a dam that could well cause local flooding.

Huntingdonshire District councillor Mike Humphrey and chairman of Conservation Group, in Hartford, Mike Shellens, have both expressed their concerns.


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Mr Humphrey said: “We have had complaints from members of the parish and regular boat users about the tree.

“Since the Covid19 lockdown has eased there are already signs that the seasonal tourist traffic is picking up again and with ‘staycation’ becoming the ‘norm’ the river could soon be very busy again. If two boats need to pass at that point, it’s going to cause big problems.”

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The owner of the land, that the tree is still attached to, is still unknown and the Environment Agency have said they cannot remove it.

In a statement they said: “We unfortunately do not own that piece of land and it belongs to the waterian land owner. It is their responsibility to remove the tree and we cannot. The river inspector has said that the tree will not cause flooding or navigational issues.”

Mr Shellens is disappointed with the Environment Agency’s response, he said: “I am extremely disappointed that they will not clear the tree, which is an obvious hazard.

“I understand budgets are tight, but the tree must be removed before the peak boating season begins.

“In the early stages, I received a quote from a contractor that it will cost £10,000 to remove the tree.

“I have already made contact with the county council, the district council, the town council and the church, of which, none of them have claimed ownership of that land.

“If the land does not belong to anyone, then it belongs to her Majesty.

Mr Shellens also mentioned that at some point the tree will detach from the bank and then it will be the Environment Agency’s responsibility to remove it.

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