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The Guardian view on Plymouth’s lost trees: an act of vandalism | Editorial

The protesters are right. Felling more than 100 trees at night was disrespectful to both local people and nature

The decision taken by Plymouth’s Tory council leader, Richard Bingley, to chop down more than 100 mature trees under cover of darkness earlier this month was damaging to the city as well as the horse chestnut, silver birch, pear, apple and other specimens that were removed. Armada Way, the pedestrianised boulevard that runs south through the city centre to the sea, is a rare postwar conservation area and ought to be a national showpiece. Instead, ugly images of debris strewn among the modern architecture have upset and angered local people and conservationists. They may also set back efforts to boost the city by attracting tourists.

The upset and anger are more than justified by events. A consultation regarding the proposed regeneration of the city centre showed that a majority of locals do not support it. A campaign group, Save the Trees of Armada Way (Straw), gathered a petition of more than 16,000 names. Yet the council ploughed on until it was served with a court injunction by campaigners. On Monday, Mr Bingley resigned, ahead of a council meeting.

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