Lost nature

Looking at lines and lines of felled trees is not a pleasing sight. The world outside the car window is a sight of devastation. I understand what’s going on and we have been forewarned of it for a long time. Whatever, the junction of the A3 and M25 motorway[1] looks a dreadful mess. The scheme to turn the junction into a mini spaghetti junction is underway.

This comes on top of two news stories that display an attitude to our green spaces that is disheartening and sad. One in Sheffield[2] where the local council was criticised for deceiving the public. The other story, an overnight savaging of city trees in Plymouth[3].

I’m going to be unkind to highway engineers. The impression given is that their attitude to trees, in general, is one that sees them only as an impediment to progress. A blight that stops their beautiful drawing board schemes from rising from the dirt. The obstacles in the way of more tarmac.

Now, the M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange is as ugly as hell. Even when it’s finished it’s going to be one of those places in the world where a sane person would not want to spend a minute more than necessary. Watching the seasons change from a motorway jam is a poor way to live.

The largescale initiatives there are to plant more trees are great. Unfortunately, all to often the stock of mature native trees and ancient woodlands has fallen markedly in my lifetime.

Natural events play their part too. I remember massive Elm trees that disappeared as Dutch Elm disease struck. These majestic trees can reach over 40 metres in height. A row of these huge Elms dominated the skyline of my childhood. A green wall that seemed everlasting. Sadly, millions of Elm trees have been killed in the UK over the last 40 years.

A tree produces oxygen and can absorb carbon dioxide. What could be more useful that that? We must reverse the loss of nature in the UK[4], if we are to stand any chance of addressing climate change. So, plant a tree for 2023. 


[1] https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roadworks-and-maintenance/roadworks/junction-improvement-programme-m25-junction-10a3-wisley-interchange

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-64863130

[3] https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2023-03-15/anger-as-monsters-in-the-night-chop-down-more-than-100-trees

[4] https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/advice/how-to-plant/

Author: johnwvincent

Our man in Southern England

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