Massive tree felling at Sutton Coldfield golf course needed to ‘restore natural habitat’
Fears over the massive felling of trees at a golf course in a Birmingham beauty spot have been allayed, with course managers and the park authority confirming it will benefit the environment.
Concerns had been raised after ‘over 100 trees’ were reportedly felled at the Sutton Coldfield Golf Club in the Streetly side of Sutton Park.
A concerned resident posted online and said in a time of ‘serious climate change’ when trees are known to be ‘one of the best ways to prevent it’ why Sutton Coldfield Golf Club has any he cut “more than 100”.
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But the golf club, park rangers and council have all responded to concerns and said the tree felling has been agreed to by all parties, including Natural England, and should in fact improve the environment.
Firstly, the Sutton Coldfield Golf Club said the works had been agreed in advance and were to improve the lighting on the golf course.
In a statement, it said: “The tree-cutting program in Sutton Park aims to address the encroachment of silver birch over many years.
“Removing them will favor low-growing moorland shrubs such as heather and gorse that are so vital to many moorland birds and animals.”
He continued: ‘The holly removal carried out at Streetly Wood has exposed many of the resident oak trees, giving them the light and space they need to thrive.
“A mixture of poor planting and the establishment of silver birch and self-standing holly has created shade issues on some golf greens and tees, and indeed throughout the park.
“The removal of these trees has improved the quality of the turf and restored the natural habitat. All work continues to be carried out in conjunction with and is welcomed by Natural England and Birmingham City Council.
Park rangers at Sutton Coldfield told BirminghamLive: ‘Work within the ‘red lines’ of the golf course takes place, like all work in the park, with the full knowledge and consent of statutory bodies and the public. park management team.
“The work being done is management of the golf course but done in a way that will complement the work being done beyond the golf course with all the ecological benefits to the site as a whole.”
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And Birmingham City Council said the work would not only help the golf course but also the wider moorland habitat at Sutton Park.
A spokesperson for the authority said: ‘These works are the management of the golf course and were discussed between us, the golf course and Natural England during a recent site visit.
“During this visit, the conversation focused on topics such as the benefits to the golf course and how it helps to minimize further intervention – and also how it benefits the wider site and moorland habitat which is there, having a positive impact on the growth of the rest of the trees.
“Management of a site like Sutton Park has for centuries included forestry and grazing – failure to carry out such work would be to the detriment of the site, regardless of who carries out the work.”
Park rangers released a detailed explanation of why they were felling trees in the park last year after similar concerns were raised.
He gave a detailed explanation of lowland moorland on sandy soils, with over 80% of this land lost worldwide in the last 200 years. So much so that the British Isles make up 20% of all that remains and Sutton Park is a ‘nationally significant’ lowland moorland site.
He said after severe fires in 1976 livestock were not allowed to graze on the site until 1980, which led to the seeding and growth of birch trees. While a decision to allow holly to grow in the park caused the almost total loss of woodland flora.
The “lowland heath birch dominance then reduced the heathland across the park. In partnership with Natural England and Historic England, Sutton Park Wardens were working to restore the moorland habitat.
He said: “Much of the restoration work done looks dramatic and sometimes drastic and of course as humans we rarely like such a change, especially in places so valued.
“However, it is of vital importance that we continue to graze and work the site to ensure the survival of a patchwork of different types of vegetation in different stages of development and to provide a multitude of miniature species with the habitats that once existed across the Midlands. Region.”
The full explanation of the Sutton Park rangers can be found here.