Sophie Howard branch death: Trees to be culled

Sophie Howard Sophie Howard was hit by the tree branch while sitting on a bench in a park talking with friends

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More than 200 trees will be removed from a Peterborough park as part of a review that followed the death of a teenager killed by a falling branch.

The survey of unsafe or unhealthy trees was ordered by the city council after Sophie Howard, 13, from Yaxley, died on 30 June last year.

Sophie was killed while sitting on a bench in a recreation ground in Yaxley.

The council said 200 trees would be removed from Bretton Park, Peterborough - about 10% of the total.

They will be replaced by 300 other trees, the council said.

'Industrial scale'

The Conservative-controlled Peterborough City Council has set aside £3m to survey every tree in the city.

The authority outsources its park management to a company called Enterprise.

Liberal Democrat city councillor Nick Sandford, whose ward covers Bretton Park, said: "What we're talking about in Bretton Park is 10% of trees are being taken out and that's tree removal on an industrial scale."

Sophie's parents, Laura and Martin Howard called on councils to learn from the death.

They reached an out-of-court settlement with Yaxley Parish Council, a village near Peterborough.

In a statement they said: "We were horrified when we heard the Health and Safety Executive's report found that Yaxley Parish Council was not following the health and safety guidelines for risk assessments and maintenance in public places and that almost 30 other trees were in a hazardous condition."

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