Fury as Highbury rail siding is razed to the ground
The felling of trees and vegetation adjoining a railway line has been described as a “biodiversity massacre” by residents living nearby.
Network Rail, which owns and manages the sidings at Drayton Park Station, Highbury, cut back the area on Saturday – but residents and councillors claim that eco-rich scrubland and bird habitats have been destroyed.
The organisation said the work was needed “to enable a safe emergency evacuation route” from the station.
But Pat Tuson, 66, of Bryantwood Road, claimed the area was protected.
She said: “This is a wanton and reckless destruction of an important and ‘protected’ nature conservation area in Islington taking place during the bird breeding season.
You may also want to watch:
“Much the same thing happened here around 10 years ago and a greenspace manager informed us that he’d obtained an undertaking at the time that the railway authority would not do this sort of thing again without first notifying Islington Council of their reasons.”
Ms Tuson, who lives with her partner Chris Ashby, 65, believes 16 species of bird – including house sparrows, robins and woodpeckers – were potentially nesting at the site or depending on it, as well as insects, mammals and bats. Liberal Democrat Highbury East councillor John Gilbert said the sidings were a “wildlife refuge”.
- 1 Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter
- 2 Police looking to speak to man in connection with sexual assault
- 3 'Proper old Islington boozer' voted best pub by readers
- 4 Kacem Mokrane: Islington man amongst seven charged with 2017 murder
- 5 Mem and Laz Brasserie voted as readers' favourite restaurant
- 6 Trevi Ristorante scoops prize with readers' votes
- 7 Spot the '90s pop stars in the Never Mind the Buzzcocks identity parade
- 8 Home of the metre-long pizza opens in Finsbury Park
- 9 Aristocrat's daughter, 25, died unexpectedly after developing 'severe headache'
- 10 Tony Eastlake: Man denies murder of ‘flower man of Islington’
A spokesman for Network Rail said the work was needed to meet safety regulations and, while nothing on record indicated the land was protected, the organisation would work with the council should it feel conditions had been contravened.
But contractors would have checked for evidence of nesting birds, he said.
He added: “We recognise that its removal, particularly when it is believed to provide a habitat for species, is an emotive subject. However, safety is our number one priority and there are many instances where vegetation presents a hazard to operating the railway safely.”
An Islington Council spokesman said: “We’ve asked for more information about how this work was carried out and why. We will be working with Network Rail to help them look at ways of managing nature conservation on the site without affecting safety.”