Anger as trees 'ripped out' of Rainham wood for drainage ditch

The line of trees in Rainham were removed by the council

The line of trees in Rainham was removed by the council so it can install a drainage ditch, with the result leaving a local 'devastated' - Credit: Supplied

The removal of a line of trees in Rainham has been branded "devastating" by a passer-by who witnessed the work while visiting the nearby playing fields. 

Located at the southern end of the Bretons Outdoor Recreation Centre, the area has previously had issues with flooding, with allotments and homes nearby. 

Havering Council said the works were necessary to install a drainage ditch and "alleviate flooding on the allotments and neighbouring properties".

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was “devastated” by the scene. 

Upon visiting the playing fields on March 22, he said he discovered - to his  “horror” - that Havering Council contractors were “just ripping trees out of the ground and throwing them in a big pile”.  

He alleged most of those being removed looked like live trees, many of which were one or two feet in diameter. 

“They are not just thinning the woodland but devastating it and pushing trees over with an excavator," he said. “Some trees were in excess of 50 centimetres in diameter. They seem to be destroying the whole wood.” 

Some of the trees taken down as part of the work

Some of the trees taken down as part of the work - Credit: Supplied

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A Havering Council spokesperson confirmed the trees, which are part of the adjacent woodland, were felled “so that we can install a drainage ditch”. 

“The works will help to alleviate flooding on the allotments and neighbouring properties," they added. 

While acknowledging the area's flooding issues and the need to find a resolution, the resident questioned the act in light of the local authority’s climate action targets

“Everyone’s on about planting trees these days," he said. “They are on about wildlife habitats and they probably destroyed quite a few in one strike.

“I think it is just a shame to take a perfectly good wood down.” 

In response, the council spokesperson said: “The council has committed to having more trees in the borough and we’re currently in the process of identifying places where trees can be planted in the future.  

“This is in addition to the 4,000 trees planted as part of the Covid Memorial in Hornchurch Country Park.” 

The council said it is "in the process" of identifying other places for new trees to be planted

The council said it is 'in the process' of identifying other places for new trees to be planted - Credit: Supplied