Felling of “half dead” tree sparks ‘outrage’

Image above: Hounslow Highways and tree surgeons remove the felled tree on Chiswick High Road

The felling of a “half dead” tree on Chiswick High Road has sparked outrage among residents critical of Cycleway 9, who believed the tree’s close proximity to the cycle lane was a factor in its demise.

Work began on removing the tree, which was opposite Merton Avenue on Chiswick High Road, on Friday at around 7.00am (25 March). Hounslow Highways and tree surgeon company, The Tree Associates, carried out the felling after determining 50% of the tree was dead and removal was the best option.

Image above: The unhappy tree showing barely any leaves in 2020. Google street view.

Hounslow Highways have said another tree will be planted in the same location and stressed the felling was “not related” to works on the cycle lane in any way.

Trees have been cut down to allow for safe journeys along Cycleway 9 in the past, including a 100 year old tree which was felled in December 2021.

Hounslow Highways felt sufficiently motivated to defend the works on Twitter, after a wave of outrage from members of the anti-cycle lane group OneChiswick.

OneChiswick is a local activist group who are opposed to all vehicular traffic restrictions in Chiswick, including Cycleway 9. OneChiswick Ltd raised thousands of pounds to take LB Hounslow to Judicial Review over C9 but the legal case did not go ahead and the company formed for the purpose has now been wound up.

“Stand in front of the tree”

OneChiswick members vented on social media shortly after the tree was cut down. One alleged the tree was being cut down to make way for Cycleway 9 and had to be felled early in the morning “presumably to avoid scrutiny”. They went on to claim LB Hounslow was continuing to “damage” Chiswick High Road.

Others were more drastic in their response to the tree being felled. Clive Sinkle said:

“If people see this happen or about to happen please please stand in front of the tree it will be worth it and while you’re standing there, post up here so we can come down straight away.”

One member posted the address and contact details of the The Tree Associates, encouraging others to message the company so as to make Chiswick’s trees “too hot to handle”.

Another member, Sue-ann Ekundayo, recommended someone “do something disgusting” next to the lorry where the tree was being removed “with a Dog or not? and run away?”.

These comments were made before Hounslow Highways issued their explanation on Monday (28 March) on Twitter.

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