‘Too many’ trees cut down in St Andrews

A number of trees have been cut down at the arboretum to make space for the link road.
A number of trees have been cut down at the arboretum to make space for the link road.

Concerns have been voiced about the number of trees that have been cut down in St Andrews to make way for new developments.

St Andrews Community Council’s planning and licencing committee is worried about the impact losing the trees will have on the environment.

Residents in the town have raised complaints in the last couple of years about a number of applications that involve the felling of trees, such as the creation of the new link road on the A91, and plans for a new hotel and student accommodation at Abbey Park.

Penny Uprichard, chair of the committee, said that when trees were involved in an application “it seems to be assumed that they will be cut down for development”.

“We think we should be taking more account of global warming,” she added, “because I’m told large trees can absorb up to 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“I think the council should be taking this into account. It should be a material consideration, when applications come in that include cutting trees, whether we can afford to keep losing them. We thought Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) protected the trees, but it just seems to save them until a development comes along.”

The committee, however, did welcome conditions to the application for the new Madras College, which was given the green light last week.

A number of conditions were added to the decision, to ensure that animals in the area are protected and that the biodiversity in the area is not affected by the development of the site.

Alastair Hamilton, service manager – development management, Fife Council, said: “Trees are recognised as an important and valuable part of our natural heritage. All development in Fife that potentially affects trees is carefully assessed to consider the impact on trees on, or adjacent to, the site.

“The planning service has guidance available online that sets out the legal background to this part of the planning process and the type of issues and considerations assessed in determining such development proposals.”