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Redditch’s woodlands could see some significant changes in the coming weeks due to essential maintenance work as part of the Borough Council’s proactive Woodland Management Programme.

The next phase of the programme will see contractors carrying out work at Arrow Valley Park (off Ipsley Church Lane) and Oakenshaw Woods (to the rear of Tesco) later this month.

This proactive woodland management aims to remove Ash tree stock due to Ash Dieback pathogen which is affecting the sites and is highly transmissible between trees.

The work will also include felling weak and overcrowded trees to allow more space, light, and water for the remaining trees, helping them to develop further into maturity as higher quality trees. This work will also encourage the natural regeneration of ground flora which provides habitat that is vital for biodiversity of the woodland.

A forestry consultant has been used to advise on the appropriate level of work to be undertaken in each site and the work has been licensed through the Forestry Commission.

Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Cllr Brandon Clayton, said: “Redditch boasts some beautiful woodlands – and we want to keep them that way for residents to enjoy for years to come so it's important that we do what we can to keep them healthy. Woodlands have been managed in this way for centuries and without ongoing proactive management, the biodiversity value and structure of woodland soon diminishes.

“It is unfortunate that we have to cut the trees down, but it is important that we do so because of this disease. It may look drastic at first, but it is vital for the health of our woodlands.”

The longer-term intention for the programme is to carry out a replanting of alternative native tree species, during the next Autumn/Winter planting season, in the sections of the woodland that will be heavily affected by the removal of the Ash trees.

The Council’s Senior Arboricultural Officer, Gavin Boyes, said: “The work aims to provide and develop a varied and healthy age structure of trees, shrub level and ground flora within the woodlands to ensure its longevity and quality. This essential work will help protect and safeguard visitors to the woodland too, because damaged or diseased trees can be dangerous.

“Whilst we understand that residents have concerns when they see trees being felled, any initial impact is greatly outweighed by the benefits gained.

“Due to the nature of the work, it is inevitable that there will be some disruption to users of the sites and local to the areas of work, however every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum.”

Teams will be tackling the trees for the next few weeks starting from the end of February.

More information about Ash Dieback is available here.

If you require any further information, please email or call our Environmental Services Team on 01527 881188.