Co Armagh blacksmith blasts Translink for felling 300 trees near Cusher River soon after heavy floods
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Jonathan Kerr, a blacksmith at Moneypenny’s Forge near the Newry Canal voiced his concerns that Translink were felling 300 trees along the Cusher River.
The blacksmith had been unable to attend work due to flooding as the Cusher River as well as the River Bann burst their banks following heavy rain last week.
Mr Kerr said: “Of course we have been inundated this week with floods - a clear, deafening wake up call from Nature that we are destroying our environment. With the waters receding, I returned to work only to find that, far from learning a lesson, the environmental damage continues. NIR / Translink are busy destroying 300 trees alongside the Cusher River. Literally removing flood defences the day after a huge flood. Could we be any more stupid ?
Mr Kerr added: “I spoke to the men with chainsaws, who told me they are removing trees due to Ash die back, and the threat of falling onto lines. I pointed out the many trees they had already removed that were not Ash. Someone needs to say or do something. I have already lodged my complaint with Translink.”
A Translink spokesperson said: “Safety is always our top priority. Our tree management programme is in place to remove vegetation that has become a potential hazard to the railway line in order to maintain safe rail operations.
“This programme has been established following Translink’s proactive assessment of trees aligning the whole of the Northern Ireland rail network.
“Managing lineside trees, shrubs and plants is vital to maintaining high safety standards for passengers and railway employees and is carefully and sensitively planned to strike a balance between safety and protecting the environment.
“Details of our tree management programme are communicated in advance to local landowners and elected representatives to keep them informed about vegetation removal.
“We are committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environment and are delivering a range of environmental offsetting projects including planting around 9,000 trees over the next 4 years.”