FOI Request Common Good Land in Forres

Request 101001603771

We note that Network Rail has paid for the lease of Common Good land in Forres. They appear to have removed many trees from that land. Who gave them permission and what action is being taken to recover the value of the timber.

Response 25-09-2017

The trees that have been felled were agreed by the Lands and Parks Officer.  The trees were overhanging the railway line and for Network rail to operate their railway line in a safe and effective manner there are bits of legislation along with common law covering their vegetation management programme.  Network Rail could have come to us as a landowner and requested that we cut back the trees on our land that were affecting the safety of the railway line and we would have had to agree to this.  This would have incurred a cost to Moray Council and/or The Forres Common Good Fund and after an inspection of the trees we concluded that to allow Scotrail and their contractor to do the work for the value of the timber was at best cost neutral and provided Best Value to all.

BAM Nuttall are paying for the supply and planting of a considerable number of replacement trees in the area.

Additional Information 28-09-2017

Information from Moray Council Planning Department:

Planning permission for the felling of trees is only required if the trees are covered by a Tree Preservation Order or are in  conservation area which these are not.  Furthermore, the proposed works are covered by Class 34 Railway Undertakings of the General Permitted Development Order, therefore no planning permission would be required.  The Council has no involvement with what will happen with any timber that is removed.

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