Designer Campaign To Save Towpath’s Trees

Jasper Conran joins fellow riverside dweller Imogen Stubbs to protest at loss of plant life

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For both Jasper Conran and Imogen Stubbs, the Thames is quite literally part of their everyday life so it comes as little surprise that they are lending their names to a campaign against the removal of a number of trees along the river’s towpath.

Conran, who lives in Chiswick Mall and Stubbs who lives on the river itself joined a growing number of local residents who are concerned that planned works by the Port of London Authority (PLA) will have a detrimental effect on the both the aethetics and the wildlife of the towpath.

However, the PLA is concerned that roots from hundreds of trees will damage revetment (the manmade stone faced sloping river bank below the towpath).

A spokesperson for the PLA said "Leaving these trees until they cause further damage is simply not an option. Without prompt action the revetment will become seriously damaged. Depending on the location, this could lead to the towpath being undermined and unsafe and could also lead to increased flood risk.

He continued "Some of the trees are also a potential hazard to rowers and other small boats - as the authority responsible for safety on the Thames, this is another concern for us.

"It must be emphasised that the vast majority of the mature trees are on the landside of the towpath and will not be removed in this scheme as these do not damage the revetment significantly. Therefore it is not the case that "all greenery" is being removed from the towpath area."

The PLA said that they had "Consulted widely on this - including with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames; the Thames Strategy - Kew to Chelsea; and the West London River Group. We are also in continuing direct dialogue with individual local residents."

Jim Trimmer, head of planning & partnerships at the Port of London Authority said, "Tree management work is part of our work to protect the Thames and its surroundings for many different communities. This pilot project seeks to find a balance that keeps river users safe; protects the vital river wall and towpath; and maintains a mix of tree screening and cover."


March 22, 2008