Replacement of trees to improve safety on busy Luton road

This month (19 October) lane closures will be in place while trees are removed from the edge of Vale cemetery boundary on Hitchin Road.

By Stewart Carr
Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:34 pm

The conifers, which have grown to such a size they pose a safety hazard, will be replaced with a boundary fence and native hedgerow.

The works, which will last approximately 14 days, have been scheduled to take place at the end of the bird nesting season, and during the school holidays in order to minimise disruption.

Previously the hedge, which reaches a height of about 13 metres, has been ‘topped’ but this removal of the tree tops has meant the width has grown excessively and at a number of points significantly encroaches onto the road.

The trees also pose a safety issue as in places they obscure street lighting and road signs and are also susceptible to storm damage, particularly in winter weather and snow.

A cemetery boundary fence of just over 1 metre will be erected in their place with native hedgerow planted.

This will screen the road providing safety from traffic as well as privacy for cemetery users. It will also help reduce noise and improve air quality and biodiversity in the area.

Cllr Paul Castleman portfolio holder for highways said; “We have no choice but to address the issue of the height and width of the hedge as it has become a matter of public safety. Reducing the height would create a row of dead stumps and foliage that would not regenerate. Therefore the best option is for their total removal.

“It’s very important that they come out before the winter months as we want to avoid any branches breaking off and falling into the road or pavement and injuring people.

"We apologise to vehicle users for the inconvenience while the work is carried out but aim to keep the disruption to a minimum.”

The existing hedgerow provides shelter and nesting sites for wildlife, and so the trees are being removed once the nesting season is over to reduce the impact. There are also other sites in the cemetery which can accommodate wildlife and biodiversity.