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Trees planted by council around King's Lynn's Lynnsport now dead, campaigners says





Thousands of trees planted by West Norfolk Council in a rewilding project have been left to die, say campaigners.

Almost 6,000 shoots were planted by the authority in May, but activists have suggested that the vast majority are already dead, with the others in poor health.

The whips – young trees without branches – were planted around Lynnsport as part of the council’s drive to tackle climate change and offset carbon dioxide emissions.

Thousands of trees planted by West Norfolk council in rewilding project at King's Lynn's Lynnsport have been left to die, say campaigners. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner
Thousands of trees planted by West Norfolk council in rewilding project at King's Lynn's Lynnsport have been left to die, say campaigners. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner

Dr Charlie Gardner, a conservationist and Extinction Rebellion activist, branded the situation a “shocking waste of effort and money”.

But West Norfolk Council hit back saying the trees have suffered from vandalism and dry weather.

In a review Dr Gardner carried out on the site, he found 90 per cent of the trees sampled were already dead.

Almost 6,000 shoots were planted by the authority in May, but activists have suggested that the vast majority are already dead, with the others in poor health. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner
Almost 6,000 shoots were planted by the authority in May, but activists have suggested that the vast majority are already dead, with the others in poor health. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner

Of the 150 trees he tested, 135 had perished, and the 15 remaining whips were “in a very bad condition”.

Many were not properly planted in the ground, with some loose, or only the tips of roots in the soil.

He said: “Some had not even been planted in the soil but were merely placed inside the tree guard.”

Dr Gardner said he found little evidence of vandalism or damage by deer and believed the soil had been dry before the record heats earlier this year.

The activist also said the site had wildflowers rarer than the woodland that had been planted on top, urging West Norfolk Council to return it to grassland.

A spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion accused the council of “failing to take climate change seriously”.

She said: “Not only has it failed on its own terms, but the entire premise of the scheme is flawed.”

A West Norfolk Council spokeswoman said the authority was also concerned about the trees but said Dr Gardner’s sample was small.

A West Norfolk Council spokeswoman said the authority was also concerned about the trees but said Dr Gardner’s sample was small. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner
A West Norfolk Council spokeswoman said the authority was also concerned about the trees but said Dr Gardner’s sample was small. Picture: Dr Charlie Gardner

“We have experienced some of the hottest, driest conditions in decades and this may well affect how many trees survive,” she said.

“Regrettably, as has been reported before, this site has suffered from wanton vandalism. As many of the photos that have been shared show, a lot of the protective tree guards have been kicked over.”

The spokeswoman said CCTV has been installed in the area to deter antisocial behaviour.

The council is carrying out an assessment to see how many trees are still alive, with many that appear to be in a poor condition “dormant” and may grow in the next season.

Any trees lost will be replaced next February.



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