Trees along railway line from Hastings to Robertsbridge to be removed

The letter Network Rail sent to residents who live close to the railway line. SUS-190718-160326001
The letter Network Rail sent to residents who live close to the railway line. SUS-190718-160326001

Network Rail is to remove trees and vegetation along the line from Robertsbridge to Hastings in a bid to make the railway safer.

A letter sent to residents said: “As part of our tree and vegetation management programme we will be clearing a seven-metre corridor on either side of the track on our land or to the boundary fence where the embankments/cuttings are 7m high, and possibly further in areas where trains are known to accelerate or brake, or to improve visibility of our level crossings and foot crossings.”

It said works will be undertaken from now until March 2020 between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

The letter continued: “We are very aware of the impact removing trees and vegetation can have on local communities and we know that this can come as something of a shock for poeple who have become accustomed to lines of trees or hedges near their homes or work places.

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“Good vegetation management on our property is a key part of running a safe, reliable railway and is completed under the guidelines set out by the Office of Road and Rail therefore, for the safety of our passengers and employees, we have no option but to take action to reduce the risk posed to the railway.”

Network Rail said before any work took place, an ecological survey would be carried out on the area to identify any protected species.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Network Rail is constantly balancing the needs of the environment and its line side neighbours with the needs and safety of the 4.8m people who use and rely on our railway every day.

“Each year we record hundreds of incidents of trains colliding with fallen trees and still more where they caused delays to services, costing millions of pounds.

“As a result, we have well thought out standards and policies in place that have been developed with the help of experts over many years that we believe strike the right balance and maintain a safe and biodiverse line side. We are also developing standards that will see vegetation on our lineside estate managed as an asset.

“This will see the business make better use of environmental data to improve net biodiversity on the railway and contribute to the Government’s targets on habitat and woodland creation.”