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Vegetation Management by Network Rail, August 2019

The following letter, dated 2 August 2019, was sent by Network Rail to local councils and other organisations in the area. We reproduce it here in its entirety.

Safety-critical vegetation management

In order to run the railway safely, we will shortly be carrying out a controlled programme of tree and vegetation management on the railway line from Bath road, Hungerford to Savernake road, Marlborough.

Why do we need to undertake this work?

The safety of the general public, travelling passengers and our staff is our number one priority. Uncontrolled vegetation can pose a serious risk to the safe running of the railway. 

During the summer of 2018, storms Ali and Bronagh led to more than 150 incidents of fallen trees or branches on the tracks in less than 48 hours. Thankfully, no passengers were injured or train drivers harmed. However, the impact of a fallen tree across the track could have been much worse.

When will this work take place?

We will be working overnight between the hours of 00.30am and 08.00am, on Sunday 11 August and Sunday 18 August

Safety-critical vegetation management

In order to run the railway safely, we will shortly be carrying out a controlled programme of tree and vegetation management on the railway line from Bath road, Hungerford to Savernake road, Marlborough.

Why do we need to undertake this work?

The safety of the general public, travelling passengers and our staff is our number one priority. Uncontrolled vegetation can pose a serious risk to the safe running of the railway. 

During the summer of 2018, storms Ali and Bronagh led to more than 150 incidents of fallen trees or branches on the tracks in less than 48 hours. Thankfully, no passengers were injured or train drivers harmed. However, the impact of a fallen tree across the track could have been much worse.

What is involved in vegetation management?

We take our responsibility to manage the railway safely and look after the habitats on our land very seriously. Work will be carried out considering the safety risks to passenger trains and our staff, the natural environment, bird nesting season and the local community.

Before we undertake any work, we will inspect vegetation and undertake ecological surveys. Once we have done these assessments, we will clear vegetation in line with best practice and guidance issued to us.

The vegetation clearance will involve stripping or removing trees and vegetation 8m from the outer running rail or to the boundary fence, whichever is the lesser. 

This programme will include investigating any vegetation growing on third party land that poses a risk to the railway. In this situation, we will contact the relevant landowner to discuss this with them directly. 

How will we manage the impact on our neighbours?

We recognise that work on the railway can be disruptive to those living or working nearby. The nature of our work often means some disturbance is unavoidable, but we will make every effort is made to minimise any unnecessary noise and we have reminded all staff to be considerate of our neighbours. 

Contact us

I hope this information is helpful and we apologise for any inconvenience this essential vegetation management may cause.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the work taking place in your area, please call our dedicated 24-hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41, visit the contact us page of our website  or email crwest@networkrail.co.uk.

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