Statement from Buckinghamshire Council 10th October 2023
Following the fire damage to the London Plane tree off Pound Lane in Marlow, a road closure was put in place in the interests of public safety until specialist surveys could be commissioned to determine the health and stability of the tree. We appreciate the disruption caused and are grateful to residents for their patience and understanding given the significant importance of this tree.
The results from the initial surveys which were carried out immediately following the fire led the Council to conclude that the most pragmatic response was to fell the tree and arrange for replacement planting. This decision was shared with the public and plans were put in motion to arrange for this work to take place. This work required the electricity supply to be temporarily turned off in the immediate vicinity so the work could be undertaken safely and it has taken several weeks to confirm a date for the works with the provider (SSE).
The Council commissioned more comprehensive surveys with a specialist organisation in order to better assess the overall health of the tree compared to the results from the previous condition surveys completed in 2016. The additional surveys included a series of tests covering the roots and main body of the tree. We have now received their report, which confirms that there has been limited degradation of the tree and it continues to have a high safety rating. We are pleased to say that this means that the tree does not require felling or any major reductions, but the removal of deadwood should be completed. Thereafter the Council will continue with programmed annual inspections to monitor the health and safety factor of the tree.
Removal of deadwood still requires the isolation of the electricity supply but there is no longer a need for the road or the car park to be closed for safety reasons. A small cordon will remain around the base of the tree to prevent access to the hollow in the main stem. The specialist consultant has recommended that this should be filled with a no-combustible material to limit the risk of any future fires.
Further communication will be provided once we have fixed dates from the tree management contractors and SSE (the electricity supplier). Additionally the same contractors will be completing deadwood removal works on the other London Plane Trees in Higginson Park as we move through the Autumn.