Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 13/Feb/2010: "Enjoy them while you can - Pop(u)lar Trees to be Chopped Down"

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Enjoy them while you can - Pop(u)lar Trees to be Chopped Down

One of the reasons I moved to Aldermaston Wharf are the lovely Poplar trees lining the canal outside of my flat. During the summer they provide some nice shade while during the winter when the leaves are gone they still let light into the flat. They are very tall, so any visitor is getting a first view when driving into Mallard Way on the way to Lockside Court:

Picture of a block of flats with a line of tall Poplar trees behind it

Looking out of my lounge the view of the trees along the canal is very nice, in particular with the calming green of the leaves during the summer:

Picture of a view of a canal lined with Poplar trees, seen from a flat next to the canal

Another impression of the view can be gained with the Canal at Aldermaston Wharf Photosynth I created last year:

Unfortunately it looks like the pictures and memories will be all that is left soon. Yesterday I came across a leaflet from British Waterways left in the entrance to our block of flats:

Tree Management Works Notification

Following a tree survey undertaken along the length of the Kennet & Avon Canal, we have been advised that the current lines of poplar trees on both sides of the canal adjacent to Aldermaston Lock, have now reached a condition in which they are no longer appropriate or sustainable for their current location.

Due to their position, size and maturity, the survey has recommended that these trees now be removed due to concerns over long term stability and be replaced with a more practical and appropriate species. As a consequence, it is the intention of British Waterways to follow this advice and commence on work to remove the existing poplars and replace them with native alder species. This is with the consulation and approval of both the Forestry Commission and West Berkshire Council.

Works have been undertaken in recent years to remove dead and decaying limbs and to prevent the falling of branches on to the adjacent roads and properties. Whilst this helps to temporarily address safety issues, this does not resolve the long term maintenance concern posed by these trees, especially with their proximity to residential properties. Some local residents have already expressed concerns about these trees.

British Waterways understands the aesthetic appeal of these trees and that this decision might be unpopular, but in the interests of long term maintenance and safety on both the canal and our neighbours, must undertake this recommended work. This decision hasn't been taken lightly, the works are considered to be essential. We are proposing to commence these works towards the end of February and during March 2010.

If you have any queries or would like any further information about this work, please contact Richard Harrison of British Waterways on 01452 318501, or via email

I'm no expert on trees so I have no idea if the assessment is right and chopping down these beautiful trees is really necessary, but I will certainly be sad to see them go. They don't look sick to me at all, but then again I've heard that trees can look fine from the outside and be rotten from the inside. Knowing that I will never get to see this view in real again makes me very sad though:

Picture of two rows of poplar trees along a canal behind a lock

I don't know if dogs have a memory for their environment and the views they get to see on their walks, still I would like to think he'll be sad as well:

Picture of a dog on a tree lined canal tow path

Even bare and without leaves during the winter the Poplars looked very nice against the blue sky after some heavy snowfall:

Picture of a canal lock and tree lined canal path after heavy snowfall

In a few weeks all this will be history…

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