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Thurston oak trees are saved by protesters as chainsaw wielding workers attempt to begin felling

Police became involved in a dispute over oak trees in Thurston today.

Extinction Rebellion protesters prevented Persimmon Homes from beginning work on felling trees as part of a housing development which adjoins Ixworth Road.

Residents were notified around two weeks ago that the housing developers would resume work on June 1, but that at least one oak tree would be left in place, with discussions taking place to potentially preserve others.

Extinction Rebellion attached themselves to trees to prevent them from being felled.
Extinction Rebellion attached themselves to trees to prevent them from being felled.

However, in light of possible bird nesting and bat roosting issues being raised, a decision was taken to conduct an ecological survey before work began.

Richard Halliwell, a Thurston resident who is also part of climate group Extinction Rebellion said: "A couple of ladies came along with binoculars and said they were doing the ecological survey, but they kept walking past us and then left. Workers than came along with chainsaws and we attached ourselves to the trees. Police then arrived and defused the situation, attempting to broker a meeting with interested parties and the workers with chainsaws moved away."

He added: "It takes days to do a proper survey."

Suffolk Police confirmed that officers which were already in the area happened upon the situation and attended what was a peaceful protest.

No arrests were made and an agreement was reached for a meeting to take place on Wednesday at noon in the car park of Persimmon's housing development on Ixworth Road.

A representative of Suffolk County Council, Penny Otton, will be there, along with a representative of Highways, the planning authorities, Persimmon Homes, Extinction Rebellion, and residents, with the issues set to be discussed in the socially distanced meeting.

Cllr Wendy Turner added her voiceto that of residents last week, describing the preservation of our cultural heritage as 'crucial.'

On Friday, Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds also commented on the situation via a tweet in which she said "I have made it very clear that beyond the two trees being taken down for safety reasons, all other remaining trees should be left untouched."

Persimmon Homes was approached for comment.

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