More than 1,000 sign petition to save 500 trees by Severn Estuary

Lisa Presland Image copyright Lisa Presland
Image caption Lisa Presland said the poplar trees can be seen from Wales on the skyline

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition to prevent 500 poplar trees being destroyed to make way for a flood defence system.

Campaigners say losing the trees and two miles (3.2km) of hedgerow by the Severn Estuary would be "devastating".

Lisa Presland, who set up the petition, said there was "no need" as the bank could be raised "without such damage".

South Gloucestershire and Bristol councils and the Environment Agency said the trees would be replaced.

Image copyright Lisa Presland
Image caption The petition has so far attracted about 1,360 signatures

The work is intended to "unlock the potential" of the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area to help create 12,000 new jobs by 2026.

Project leaders South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and the Environment Agency said raising the flood bank in this location was the "only option".

They say the scheme will reduce the flooding risk and create a wetland habitat to protect the internationally important habitats and species of the Severn Estuary site.

'Magnificent poplars'

In a joint statement, they said: "The planning application for the project will include an environmental statement which will record all of the potential impacts, the options considered in the design, and the proposed mitigation to minimise and offset harm."

Ms Presland said: "The Environment Agency need to raise the existing flood bank on the coastal path between New Passage and Aust, however, to do this they plan to destroy 500 magnificent poplar trees that line the coast and can be seen from Wales on the skyline.

"There is no need for such devastating action. We've achieved a tree protection order on the trees - a big win in the interim, but this is not enough to save them completely."

Image copyright South Gloucestershire Council
Image caption The flood defences are intended to help to encourage businesses to invest in the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area

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