Tree thinning

Contractors working on behalf of Elmbridge Borough Council have started tree management works on West End Common and Leigh Hill Commons this week.

These works are carried out by forestry contractors managed by the Council’s Countryside Team. They are part of the ongoing woodland management programme approved by the Forestry Commission in March 2012. They follow the English Woodland Grant Scheme programme (EWGS), which provides a framework for best practice woodland management.

The works on West End Common and Leigh Hill Common will include:

  • thinning 30% of canopy

  • non-native/invasive species control

Woodland thinning involves removing the less healthy or desirable trees and allows more light into the woodland, encouraging small plants and shrubs to grow at ground level. As well as increasing the diversity of the ground fauna, it allows the remaining trees to develop better. Longer term, it plays an important role in developing and maintaining a wide variety of habitats and wildlife.

Non-native and invasive species - including Laurel, Rhododendron and Turkey Oak - have a serious negative impact on our local wildlife. They are usually bigger, faster growing or more aggressive than our native species who may find themselves unable to compete and whose numbers are declining.

Cllr Janet Turner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Cultural Services, said, “The Commons are very close to the heart of residents and are enjoyed by all users. They are also invaluable habitats that need to be maintained to ensure local species survive and thrive. Ongoing management of woods needs to take place to promote healthy woodland.  By encouraging trees of different ages, the Commons become a more viable habitat for all types of wildlife. This, in turn, makes the Commons a more interesting place to visit for everyone. If you have any concerns or questions to ask about the current works, I would encourage you to get in touch with the Countryside Team who will be able to explain more fully how the works will benefit the Commons.”

For more information contact the Countryside Team on 01372 474579, email or visit our webpages.

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