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Time to stop the Xmas chainsaw massacre

As Woolton yews are chopped down, Larry Neild says we need to protect ALL our trees

Written by . Published on December 18th 2014.

Time to stop the Xmas chainsaw massacre

CALL me Mister Humbug, but today I am calling for a new charity, the NSPCCT – the National Society for the Prevention of Chopping (Down) Christmas Trees?

“Only God can make anything as beautiful as trees,” sang Paul Robeson in a musical version of a famous century-old poem by Joyce Kilmer. 

Which makes me wonder why six million households in the UK celebrate the birth of His son, the Baby Jesus, by sticking a decapitated tree in the corner of the living room.

Artificial versions are now so life-like, is there really any need to continue with this annual chainsaw massacre?


Do you prefer to rock around a fake fir?

Around Europe about 150 million trees are chopped down each November as global warming and environmental disasters continue to make the headlines. Add to the transport costs of hauling weighty trees here, there and everywhere and it seems crazy that the guardians of the air we breathe are sacrificed in this feast of St Stephen.

By now, thousands of people from Merseyside and Greater Manchester will have made their annual pilgrimage to Delamere Forest to handpick a live specimen which, within hours, will have beed decorated and lit up.  Delamere is one of the Forestry Commission’s main tree outlets, accounting for a large slice of the 100,000 trees they log and flog during this festive period.

It insists its trees are from sustainable sources and for every tree taken down, two are planted, to await their appointment with the axeman in five or six years time.

Nevertheless, it is a big money-spinner, with many trees costing upwards of £50 to £200 and this Christmas we in the UK will be spending around £300m on freshly felled firs, spruces and pines.

A few years ago Liverpool saw by introducing into Church Street the zaniest Christmas tree ever created - Metal Mickey.  After a couple of outings Metal Mickey disappeared, never to be seen again.

Image3Going: The yew trees in Woolton

This week has seen the chopping down of two beautiful old yew trees outside a church in leafy (while the leaves last) Woolton Village. It seems there was a Tree Protection Order on them, but there is a dispute about whether council permission was given, or otherwise, to allow the removal of trees that have been part of the “In Bloom”  village’s streets cene for generations.

Every week the city planning department receives dozens of applications from householders, business owners and property owners all seeking one thing: permission to chop down trees.

Diseased trees ought to be removed, but more often we are seeing healthy examples biting the sawdust.

Image1Gone, some time later

Under planning rules the council is now allowed to impose what is called a section 106 condition on planning applications, forcing developers to pay a bounty for environmental works around the areas where they plan to build some more student flats. Maybe the council should introduce a ‘green’ rule telling people if they chop down trees in their gardens, they must plant or pay the cost of planting trees in their neighbourhoods to compensate for the loss.

It may be seen by some as barking up the wrong tree, but until we start to better protect our own trees, we have little business telling people in faraway lands that their own must be preserved.

Come February 14 I’ll be fighting the corner of the beautiful rose, and asking why such a flower has been linked to romance, especially as roses really do grow on trees, or shrubs, and as soon as they are cut from their branches they wither and die. Romantic or what?

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousDecember 18th 2014.

"Green Tambourine" will like this

1 Response: Reply To This...
Green TambourineDecember 19th 2014.

Chop down POLITICIANS!!!!!

AnonymousDecember 18th 2014.

Trees, when grown for Chrimbo, are just a crop. You may as well complain about apples, spuds, daffodils and lettuce being needlessly slaughtered? Cutting down other trees is a different matter, and to conflate the two seems muddy thinking at best But, I suspect you know this and are looking to get the Tambourine dude on his soapbox

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialDecember 18th 2014.

Who? What?

John BradleyDecember 18th 2014.

Oh and don't forget the annual St David's day Daf massacre or the slaughter of the shamrock. The look like they have be pollarded, rather than taken down. Everywhere should have more trees. Around town there are lots of little circles of tarmac in the pavement, where trees where originally planted, each the gravestone of a tree that was usually vandalised as a sapling. I wonder if the ones at Myrtle parade will be given a second chance with the rebuild.

AnonymousDecember 18th 2014.

Surely if anyone chops down a tree with a preservation order on it, they should be forced to replace it with a tree of the same species as close as possible to the original size. Those yews, for instance....... .... could be replaced with healthy 7-8 metre high replacements, at a cost of just over £4,000 each. Plus transport etc. They would then have a financial incentive to look after them properly, keeping them healthy, trimmed etc. instead of leaving them to grow to such a size that only drastic action will do.

Just a thoughtDecember 18th 2014.

They could have always knocked the church down instead

AnonymousDecember 18th 2014.

I wonder will we get a repeat of last year's delightful post Christmas scene in Sefton Park where numerous lazy bastards dumped their trees, still fully decorated. Unbelievable.

A. PineDecember 19th 2014.

A tremendous story. I thought yew might twig to this story and cover it.

Green TambourineDecember 19th 2014.

What about the SQUIRRELS!!!!!! Where will they LIVE???

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 19th 2014.

Back where the little grey nuisances came from nobwad!

Green TambourineDecember 23rd 2014.

Where is nobwad??? I don't UNDERSTAND!!!

Paul GoetzeeDecember 21st 2014.

Want to know more about trees and more importantly woodlands, where trees are just part of a bigger ecosystem? I'm a tree surgeon and I work in a wood called Coed Nant Gain outside Mold. Its managed by Iliff Simey who actually lives in the wood. Go to naturalforestpractice.com. That's his website. It's dead interesting and youse all might learn something. Happy Christmas!

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

The tree worship thing predates Xmas. Look it up.

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