Norfolk County Council accused of 'leaving trees to die' along NDR roadside

Jamie Osborn, a Green Party councillor, said that Norfolk County Council had failed to care for the trees correctly.
Jamie Osborn, a Green Party councillor, said that Norfolk County Council had failed to care for the trees correctly. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Thousands of trees planted alongside a new link road have been "left to die", Green Party politicians have alleged.

As part of the agreement to build the £205m Northern Distributor Road (NDR) near Norwich six years ago, Norfolk County Council promised to plant 30,000 new trees to replace the 6,000 that were dug up in the construction process.

However, members of the Green Party on the conservative-run council said the local authority was warned about the saplings not being maintained properly, but failed to care for them correctly.

That has resulted in around 25% of the trees failing - a figure the council claimed was in line with Forestry Commission guidance.

Around 7,500 of the trees next to the road have died. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"All along the road, thousands of trees have died - 7,500 we estimate," Green councillor Jamie Osborn told ITV News Anglia.

"That is after the County Council was warned repeatedly, year after year by their own environmental consultants, who said that these trees need watering.

"They have trashed what was here already, and in their place, we have got plastic casings with dead trees."

The Greens said its own Freedom of Information request to the council revealed the trees were not planted properly.

Mr Osborn added that it was "very sad" that so many trees had perished, and accused the council of treating the environment as a "tick-box exercise."

Mr Osborn said a lack of watering was a key factor in the number of trees perishing. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"This is having a serious impact on the wildlife that used to live on this road, and is now nowhere to be seen," he said.

"They (the council) should have been honest from the very start about what the rate of survival of these trees could have been.

"They haven't bothered caring for the trees, they haven't bothered to actually assess what the impact of these new trees would be compared to what they've lost."

In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: "The plants that have been lost have either already been replaced, or will be replaced in the next planting season.

"The overall project has seen significant investment in natural habitats with 78% of the project's land used for either planting area, grassland or lagoons.

"The ecological area at Rackheath, provided as part of the project, has been awarded County Wildlife Site status."

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