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"Chainsaw massacre" of 20m-high trees near Blackwall tunnel fuels air quality fears
A "CHAINSAW massacre" of 20m-high trees near the heavily-polluted Blackwall tunnel has sparked air quality concerns among residents.
Nine 50-year-old trees are due for the chop after a seven storey development at the junction of Woolwich Road and Vanbrugh Hill was given the green light following a three year delay.
Now a carbon cloud has been cast over the project as people fear cutting down the giant trees will mean the loss of a natural barrier which soaks up the tunnel’s pollution.
Two of the trees were axed last week triggering an online protest from worried residents who say they were not consulted about the felling.
Richard Sylvester, of nearby Calvert Road, said: "It is really horrible. They are big old London Plane trees and Lime trees which are some of the most resilient.
"We live on a heavily polluted corridor near the Blackwall tunnel and trees are one major ecological way of dropping carbon.
"We are pleased to have the development going ahead but the threatened trees, as even school children know, perform a great job in supporting air quality, providing shade, not to mention visual attraction and benefits to health."
The 56-year-old environmental charity volunteer says this "chainsaw massacre" could lead to poorer air quality in the area.
Carrie Presbury, 48, lives in Calvert Road and her son is an asthma sufferer.
She said: “I’m not happy at all. It is a big area and it is going to be filled with a lot more traffic.”
The counsellor says she is worried about the loss of greenery in a built-up area from a mental health perspective.
Royal Horticultural Society senior horticultural scientist Dr Tijany Blanousa said: "Trees are very good at locking up carbons.
"A long-lived tree like a 50-year-old tree will have large amounts of carbon - 50 per cent of a tree is carbon.
"Tillia species (or Lime trees) have a sticky, rough surface to the leaves where dust particles can cling on.
"They have a large crown leaf structure which is relatively complex to help trap particles."
The development, which will create 650 homes, is overseen by Hadley Mace, Greenwich Council and the NHS which all claim to have a green focus.
Project Director at Hadley Mace Jason Wood said: “Hadley Mace, The Royal Borough of Greenwich and the Greater London Authority are working in partnership to develop a scheme which will deliver much needed homes, employment opportunities and new community facilities for the local area.
“We are committed to working closely with the local community, and while any decision to remove trees is never taken lightly, we will be planting more than 70 trees of varying maturity and specimens in a new public square and streets which will be complemented by ground covering plants and shrubs.
"This development will create outstanding public facilities in new landmark buildings which will serve local people, and we believe one of which the local community will be rightly proud of."