“Much-loved” trees in Bromley are going to be protected by the council from controversial Network Rail plans to give them the chop.

Bromley Council said last week that two tree preservation orders had been issued for mature oaks and sycamores next to railway tracks in Ridgeway Drive.

It comes as Network Rail’s contentious plans to axe thousands of trees across the network to improve delays came under the spotlight.

Tree preservation orders will mean that Network Rail will have to get permission from Bromley Council before it starts any felling work.

Councillor Peter Morgan, Plaistow & Sundridge ward councillor said: “Trees form part of the much loved character of our borough, with there being reputedly more trees in our borough than other london borough and protecting the trees, for the benefit of us all is important.

“I am pleased to confirm that the council has introduced a Tree Preservation Order which protects the much valued trees, including semi mature oak trees, on railway land in Ridgeway Drive.

Cllr Morgan said the order, which no one, including Network Rail, objected to,  gives protection to all the trees present at the time it was made.

Tree preservation orders are not very common, and are usually made to stop specific trees or woodland from deliberate damage, according to the Woodland Trust.

Cllr Morgan said: “It is important to note that this does not prevent Network Rail from carrying out necessary works in line with their statutory requirements and it does mean that they are required to seek the Council’s permission for any work.”

The order, made in September, comes as Orpington MP and Rail Minister Jo Johnson announced a review into Network Rail’s fellings, and suspended work due the nesting season.

The review will consider how Network Rail can best ensure the safety of our railways, while also protecting wildlife and preserving trees.

Jo Johnson, Rail Minister, said: “It is right that Network Rail are able to remove trees that could be dangerous, or impact on the reliability of services. In the last year, vegetation management and related incidents have cost the railway £100 million.

“But I also understand that cutting back trees can alarm people who enjoy these environments — and can especially raise concerns over the effect on birds during nesting season.”

A petition calling for Network Rail to stop chopping down trees has been backed by more than 60,000 people nationally.

Cllr Morgan said: "The default position so far as I am concerned is that the trees  stay unless there are convincing reasons why any should be removed.

"The trees are a very important part of our Clean and Green reputation so we will do all we can to keep them, especially mature and beautiful specimens."