Railway works on mature trees 'paused' after community backlash

May 2019 - The first Class 710 in passenger service arrives at Gospel Oak

This type of train serves the Romford to Upminster route - Credit: Network Rail

Railway works to take away “overgrown” trees and vegetation have been paused after backlash from residents.  

Network Rail had planned to manage vegetation along the Romford to Upminster train line and had a meeting with Romford MP Andrew Rosindell on January 12.

Since this meeting, the work has been "paused".

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Romford MP Andrew Rosindell - Credit: Andrew Rosindell

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We asked the contractor to pause their work on the mature trees and focus on low-lying vegetation for the time being while we reviewed our approach.   

“This review was done to make sure we are minimising the impact on trees and vegetation by the railway as far as possible while still being able to maintain a safe railway for all rail users.”  

Andrew Rosindell said: "I am delighted that Network Rail’s senior management team have engaged with me in sensible and constructive negotiations over the railway lines between Romford to Gidea Park and from Romford to Upminster, on the ‘push and pull’ line. 

"I was shocked and angered this morning when Network Rail contractors continued to chop down trees and felling historical oak trees even after Network Rail had assured me that this would stop immediately."

He said Network Rail has agreed to meet with himself, local councillors, residents and other key stakeholders next week on the issue.

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Charles Baker, senior public affairs manager at Network Rail said: “We’ve listened to the concerns they’ve raised about our vegetation management work in this area.

"As a result, we’ve reviewed our plans so we’re sure they minimise the impact on trees and vegetation by the railway but do what is needed to protect those travelling and working on the railway."

Mr Baker said only foliage within 6.5 metres of the running rail - which could "interfere" with the track and equipment - would be cut down, as well as other larger trees if they are dead or a safety risk.  

"We’ll do all we can to leave them in place and wherever possible, trees will be cut back or reduced in height but not removed.”