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Tree Felling Works at Crabble Recreation Ground

Following recent inspections and a risk assessment, the Council intends to remove a number of trees identified as high risk during February 2024. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q. Why is the Council felling the trees?  

A. The Council commissioned an independent tree consultant to inspect the trees following a recent failure. The report identified 36 over-mature beech trees as high risk to public, including users of the park, and neighbouring properties. The Council has explored alternative options but due to the location, species, age and size of the trees, the only the viable option for addressing the risk is felling.  

Q. Why not just reduce the trees?  

A. The trees are over mature beeches. They are a temperamental species, and do not take well to a significant reduction, often resulting in the death of the tree. Some of the Beech are located on a steep chalk bank, they are shallow rooted and liable to windthrow. 

Q. Why not just remove a few at a time?  

A. The trees have grown integrally with each other. Removing some could increase the risk of failure of others, for example removing the forefront trees which faced prevailing winds would expose others that have been protected from those winds. Trees adapt to their environments and their root structures will have developed to accommodate this. Trees surrounded by others are not as likely to have such strongly developed root structures as those that have faced those winds.  

Q. Why do so many trees need to be felled?  

A. The trees identified for felling are all a similar age as they were planted at the same time. They are considered over-mature, but it is impossible to predict if and when they will fail. The associated factors of their proximity to property, roads and footpaths and within a heavily used public open space, has led to a large number of trees presenting that risk.  

Q. Will the Council be replanting?  

A. Yes. Unfortunately, the works will remove a large quantity of mature trees, which will have a significant impact to the street scene. However, the Council will undertake extensive replanting in the autumn, using a mixed native selection of varying sized trees for increased resilience in the future. This will ensure that in future the park contains trees of varying ages, meaning it is much less likely that so many trees will have to be removed at the same time again.  As the replacement trees will be of various species, even if a new pest or disease emerges that affects a particular type of tree (which we have seen over recent years in both chestnut and ash), then the impact of loss will be limited.  

Q. Can we prolong their future.  

A. The Parks Department has been monitoring these trees for almost two decades. Regular inspections have been undertaken during that time.  Following the recent failure of a tree shortly after an inspection it has become clear that the risk can only be managed effectively by felling. Trees are living organisms and grow old and fragile.  

Q. What is happening to the timber?   

A.   The timber has all been agreed with the contractors as an offset to the cost of the works on this occasion.  

Q. Will the public still be able to access the ground?  

A. Yes, there will be temporary restrictions in controlled areas where works are taking place but access to Crabble Recreation Ground will be available at all times during the works.  

Q. Are you closing Crabble Lane whilst works commence?  

A. No, there will be traffic management at certain times, where works may affect the highway, but due to this being a main bus route and busy road the road will not be closed.  

Q. Who will be completing the works?  

A. The Council has appointed its Approved Contractor for Arboricultural Works, Leaf Tree Services. The company is fully qualified & insured and has been working with Dover District Council for several years now. They will be working with other external partners utilising specialist equipment to complete these works.