Residents win tree feud with supermarket

Aldi trees demo

Rachael Rosen and Rachel Barrat at a demo held against Aldi’s tree-felling plans, prior to a u-turn by the company (credit Karl Weiss)

A group of residents have persuaded a major supermarket chain to stop cutting down trees in Lea Bridge Road.

Aldi is preparing to open a new supermarket, in a building formerly used by B&Q, and has cut down six mature trees that stood adjacent to the street.

The move caused outrage among local people, who said the trees provided some of the only greenery along that stretch of Lea Bridge Road. There was also concern that some trees were home to nesting birds, having been felled during breeding season.

A campaign was launched called Save Lea Bridge Trees, aimed at safeguarding the remaining trees that stand within the area of Aldi’s new supermarket.

Claire Weiss led calls for Aldi to halt its tree-felling plans, calling the damage done so far “a tragic mess”. After a demonstration which caught the attention of the shop’s management team, she met with them to discuss residents’ concerns.

Claire said: “Following the objections of many local people to the recent chopping down of six healthy trees on the Aldi construction site in Leyton, the Save Lea Bridge Trees campaign met with Aldi management. They said they are going to revise their plans for felling any more trees along their Lea Bridge Road frontage and have promised to issue written confirmation.”

Chopped trees

The stumps left over after Aldi removed six trees beside the site of its new supermarket

Genevieve Tester was another resident alarmed at the loss of the trees, and launched a petition against Aldi on the campaign website 38 Degrees that was signed by more than 250 people. Prior to Aldi’s decision to keep the remaining trees, she said: “I don’t understand. We go on about air quality, but despite the very well known fact that trees combat pollution and add a sense of well being into our lives, Aldi is totally destroying the only wall of green foliage along Lea Bridge Road.”

Aldi’s original plans included the removal of 22 trees around the new supermarket, replacing them with nine trees and a series of shrubs and container plants. A spokesperson for the company said: “We have removed some trees from the Lea Bridge Road site during construction, as per our planning permission, to enable the ground to be levelled. None of these have existing protection orders and will be replaced by semi-mature trees.”

Regarding concern over nesting birds, the Aldi spokesperson added: “We always take great care to ensure no trees containing live nests are removed.”