Council monitors health of ‘tampered’ trees

Tuesday April 30th 2024

Newbattle Road

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The health of a group of trees which had holes drilled in them and weed killer allegedly poured in is being monitored by Midlothian Council officers.

Councillors this week approved a permanent Tree Protection Order for the wildlife after receiving reports they had been tampered with.

The incident came just months after the council reported the ‘wilful destruction’ of other trees on the site, at Eskbank, to the procurator fiscal’s office.

At a meeting of Midlothian Council’s planning committee today officers said the future of the tampered trees was uncertain.

Head of planning Peter Arnsdorf, told the meeting: “We have been monitoring the health of the trees. It is too early to say if they will recover or not, if they have been damaged we will require a replacement plan to be introduced.”

Councillors were told that following an alert officers found at least a dozen trees at Newbattle Road, Eskbank, had 10mm holes near their bases and found a five-litre pressure spray bottle containing a ‘pink liquid’ on the site.

In November last year the local authority’s planning committee authorised officers to contact the procurator fiscal’s office after trees were felled on the land without planning permission and a planning notice was ignored.

A report this week reveals that despite issuing a cease notice on the land, it was reported in December that weed killer had been fed to trees and in January the council received planning applications for work on the trees including felling and pruning for health and safety or structural reasons.

Councillors unanimously backed making the TPO permanent and were told the case regarding the felled trees is ongoing.

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