Okehampton Town Council will not support a planning application for a crown reduction of an oak tree on Quarry Fields on the grounds of loss of habitat.

The council opposed the application (1945/23/TPO) at a recent meeting following a comment by Cllr Michael Ireland during which he raised concerns that the proposed 3m reduction (10 ft) would have a significantly negative impact on the wildlife that call the area home.

Cllr Ireland described the area as a ‘wildlife haven’ and pointed out that cutting down trees during spring and summer months was likely to disrupt nesting birds which the RSPB says are already suffering from severe habitat loss in urban environments.

He said: ‘It’s a woodland corridor. It’s part of an ecosystem and I know on our planning objections ecology and landscape can be noted here so I think I am much more considerate to maybe trimming would be useful not cutting as is shown in the plan. Personally I object to that being done to the tree - it’s landscape value and ecological value are really important to us.’

Cllr Richard Colman echoed Cllr Ireland’s view, saying that although the trees had grown substantially in the last ten years and swayed in high winds, the proposed cutting was too extreme.

The application also proposes to reduce the crown of a silver birch tree which proved to be less controversial since, in the words of Cllr Ireland, silver birch could be ‘quite prolific.’

It was also noted that the applicant had provided no arborist report to explain why such action is needed.