Overwhelming interest in tree felling video puts pressure on The National Trust to “come clean” on the felling of one of Britain’s top heritage trees
In the context of the worldwide support from the arboricultural profession for his video on the felling of the Duke of Wellington Cedar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BypBkilAHcI&feature=youtu.be), Jeremy Barrell is calling for The National Trust to change the way that it manages heritage trees:
“Heritage trees are irreplaceable natural assets and The National Trust seems to be treating them as if they are disposable commodities that can be felled and replaced on a whim. Trees with cultural connections like The Duke of Wellington Cedar can never be replaced, but they can be retained and conserved. However, that takes vision and commitment, and an innovative management approach that seems to be lacking in that organisation. The time has come for a change and the support for my video is the mandate needed to drive that change.”
In terms of background, as widely reported in the press, just before Christmas, The National Trust felled the Duke of Wellington Cedar at Kingston Lacy House against the published advice of its independent tree expert. The tree was planted in 1827 by one of our greatest national heroes, the Duke of Wellington, and ranked as one of Britain’s top heritage trees because it was of exceptional interest for visual, scientific and cultural reasons.
Jeremy Barrell has studied the publicly available information and discovered a worrying catalogue of statements made by The National Trust in an attempt to justify the felling.
He concluded from his analysis:
“Through a series of carefully crafted briefings, The National Trust has created a clear impression that it has behaved responsibly, with no other course of action but to fell the tree, which the press and East Dorset District Council seem to have accepted at face value without an appropriate level of further investigation. My investigations have revealed The Trust’s statements to be so one-sided, factually incorrect and potentially misleading that I have felt compelled to publish my own briefing note to set the record straight.”
Jeremy visited Kingston Lacy when the felling was in progress and recorded a video that can be viewed athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BypBkilAHcI&feature=youtu.be.
He has also prepared a briefing note with more detailed explanations that can be downloaded athttp://www.barrelltreecare.co.uk/pdfs/BTC88-BriefingNote-Com…..
Although it is too late to save this tree, Jeremy sadly reflected:
“The National Trust staff seems to have made a serious error of judgment in the way this tree was managed and it needs to come clean on why that happened. As a life-long supporter of The National Trust, it has been extremely disappointing to see this systematic campaign of misinformation unfold and the public should be worried about what has happened. I think The National Trust needs to work fast and hard to restore public confidence in its ability to manage our natural heritage assets in a responsible manner. These trees are simply irreplaceable and we cannot afford to lose any more through ineffective administration.”