TREE surgeons working for Bradford on Avon Town Council are going ahead with plans to pollard and coppice trees in the ancient Becky Addy Wood despite a protest by campaigners.

Members of The Friends of Becky Addy Wood today stood in front of trees that the tree surgeons plan to lop with a chainsaw.

The contractors are going ahead with the work despite an offer by FROBAW to meet council officers and councillors tomorrow morning.

They started work this afternoon despite pleas by FROBAW to delay the work for a week while negotiations take place for them to purchase the wood.

Chris Humphries, of FROBAW, said: "The town council are going ahead with so-called “emergency works” in Becky Addy Wood. 

"FROBAW had a tree survey carried out on Monday, 6 June by an extremely well qualified QTRA tree risk assessor/surveyor.

"Our expert has written a report stating that only a small amount of work needs to take place in the wood – namely the removal of a few branches overhanging the public right of way. 

"The findings of this survey contrast starkly with the findings of the council’s notorious October survey which was carried out at the wrong time of the year. Trees declared “dead” or “dying” in that survey are now in full leaf. 

"We have also carried out a rigorous footfall count which shows footfall of approximately 1.9 people per hour at one of the busiest times of the year for use of the wood by the public. 

"I have notified the town council, asked them to suspend the works with immediate effect and asked for a meeting tomorrow. The council are proceeding with their works.

"They are doing this in a historic, ancient woodland with a fragile wildlife habitat and endangered species.

"They are doing so at the height of the bird-nesting, bat breeding and plant growth season. They are in potential breach of environmental legislation."

The council conducted a tree survey last October which showed that up to 152 trees identified for felling are suffering from ash dieback disease or pose a safety risk to people walking through the wood.

But FROBAW campaigners say the work will cause “irreparable damage” to the wood and that the tree survey was conducted at the wrong time of year.

They say the council has ignored the advice of the UK government, the Woodland Trust, UK Wildlife Trusts and the Tree Council, all of which advise summer surveys.

Click here to read what Bradford-on-Avon Town Council has had to say