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Whitstable Slaughter: The Cherry Trees in Oakwood Drive
KCC Highway Services
- Roads and transport
Kent Highway Services look after Kents roads, pavements and cycle paths and encourage safe and sustainable ways of travelling. Were working to make your journeys safer and more enjoyable by improving the condition and safety of roads and pavements. W
Kent County Council are cutting down the Cherry trees in Oakwood Drive in Tankerton. I noticed it the other day. There was a bunch of workmen with a chainsaw and a shredder and they were removing the trees at an alarming rate. There are now twelve tree stumps lined up along the road, which looks very stark without their homely shade.
I spoke to someone at the Highway Services department who told me that they were being brought down because the roots were undermining garden walls and disrupting the pavements. This seems like a drastic step to me. Walls and pavements are man-made objects and can be replaced in days, while trees are living things and take a lifetime to grow.
One of the residents told me that it was a health and safety issue. The Council are liable if anyone trips up on one of the roots and hurts themselves. This is patently absurd. It’s not like the tree roots are growing at such a fantastic pace that they are liable to leap out of the ground and grab someone’s feet. All you have to do is to step over them.
I blame compensation culture myself. These days no one can do anything without considering the possibility of compensation claims. Take those tree roots. It’s not the tree’s fault if you trip over them. It’s not the County Council’s fault. It’s your own fault for not watching where you are going.
Chopping down trees because they might produce a hazard is a bit like culling children because they might grow up to become serial killers.
Who knows what might happen in the future? I heard a story once about two teenage boys who stole a London bus and went on a wild driving spree. Do we ban London buses on the basis that teenage boys might want to steal them? Do we lock up all teenage boys on the basis that they tend to be wild and unpredictable at times?
Or do we just say “things happen” and accept we can’t be accountable for every eventuality?