Southampton Airport has released a video about tree work it wants to carry out at Marlhill Copse – woodland to the south of Mansbridge Road.
• Council planning meeting Tuesday, March 12 at 6pm; Group plans lobby of councillors on civic steps from 5pm
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There’s been growing concern, for example expressed in the public comments for this planning application, that’s apparently to gain vehicular access to the site, about the possible implications of any work for the copse.
The airport says it’s all part of “aerodrome safeguarding work” and explains that this “is the term used in aviation to allow for the management of obstacles to ensure planes can take off and land safely. It is a legislative issue that all airports must comply with.”
It says it will be working to safeguard local ecology, is conducting species surveys, and replanting on a ratio of three to one.
In the video, airside operations and safety manager Dan Townsend responds to “a number of questions and queries” from the community.
He says that paint markings on trees don’t mean they will be felled, but that it’s a way to catalogue what’s in the woodland for a management plan.
And an airport spokesperson adds: “Although a large number of trees in the copse have been marked and may need some form of management, the vast majority of those trees marked are minor crown reductions which will not affect the trees.”
Townsend says in the video about 27 of the larger pine trees by the residential properties are to be felled, and on the “lower slope” trees won’t be felled but crown reductions will take place, which he says will leave trees “in healthy, balanced states”. Gareth Narbed, from The Friends of Marlhill Copse, however says that five trees are going to be felled in this area, and is asking the airport to clarify this.
Dan Townsend stresses that the airport has “no development plans” for the site, such as buildings or runway lights. He talks about when the work is done handing Marlhill back to the community, “improving it”, and working with the council and any community groups.
Friends of Marlhill Copse say they’re assembling at 5pm on March 12 on the Civic Centre steps for a “musical lobby of councillors”, ahead of a council planning meeting at 6pm which is due to discuss the application [link to agenda item]. At the time of writing it’s received 30 objections.
Southampton Airport’s video on YouTube
Airport page about aerodrome safeguarding including information about Marlhill Copse, and including the video
Friends of Marlhill Copse Facebook page
Planning panel agenda item including links to various background papers, including details of previous applications relating to trees – Southampton City Council