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Row after ancient trees are felled.

Byline: By JACKIE BOW South Wales Echo

The unapproved felling of protected ancient trees on a development site has provoked a furious row. Graham Tuck allegedly pulled down or damaged the trees on land at Y Goedwig, Cardiff Road, Treharris, where he plans to build two detached homes and an access road.

The land also includes an address belonging to his son Ian Tuck - a Merthyr Tydfil planning councillor.

A tree expert has been called in by the council which is investigating after members of the public complained last week.

It is believed that several trees protected under Tree Preservation Orders were pulled down, or damaged by ring barking - cutting the bark which stops the food supply.

Mr Tuck disputes the trees' protected statue - which dates back to 1954 and was specified in a planning inspector's report.

Peter Hodges, of neighbouring Ash Grove, said: 'What is apparently ancient woodland has been devastated and wildlife habitat has been destroyed. Men with chainsaws were cutting trees and JCBs were smashing them down.'

Neighbour Ann Parker said: 'A mature oak tree was pulled down with ropes. I tried to stop the workmen but I was told to move out of the way.'

Her husband Percy said: 'It's like a war zone. It's devastated the area.'

In March 2005, Mr Tuck, of Heol-Y-Glyn, Treharris, was granted outline planning consent, on appeal, for an extended development site.

The planning inspector's report said he was satisfied the whole site could be developed for nine houses without material prejudice to the trees, the subject of a Tree Preservation Order dating back to 1954.

On August 25 this year an emergency order was placed on three more trees - a Chilean Pine, also known as a Monkey Puzzle tree, an Atlantic Cedar and mulberry tree - after Mr Tuck made his access road application.

The council has confirmed: 'A number of trees have been felled, some have been ring-barked, some trenches have been dug around the trees exposing the roots and a detailed survey is awaited. Tree Preservation Orders in respect of the land are in force. The council is considering the situation and will take appropriate measures considered necessary.'

Graham Tuck has declined to comment.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 22, 2006
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