Railways: Trees

Department for Transport written question – answered on 21st June 2018.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many trees have been felled alongside rail lines since June 2017.

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Department for Education) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (Department for Transport), Minister of State (London)

With 20,000 miles of track and millions of trees along the railway, ensuring vegetation is managed and the railway continues to be safe and reliable for the millions of people who use the network every day is a full time job for Network Rail. In the last year, there were more than a thousand incidents where trees caused disruption to the network as a result of storms, rain and wind. Network Rail estimate that around 50,000 trees a year are felled to ensure the safe and reliable running of the railway. This equates to 0.8% of the 6.2 million trees on the Network Rail estate. However, we do recognise that there are concerns which is why I recently announced a review into Network Rail’s vegetation management, which will including looking at whether Network Rail has the capacity and capability to manage vegetation in a way that minimises harm to wildlife.

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