Anger at felling of trees in area 'as big as football pitch'
AN Afan Valley resident has been left outraged by the felling of around 100 trees.
Jeffrey Bevan, from Cymmer, said a large amount of trees had been felled opposite Heol y Glyn.
They have been removed due to the fatal ramorum disease which has affected 600,000 larch trees in the area.
The Forestry Commission is currently tackling the disease by felling large areas to prevent its spread.
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A spokesman said the felling had to take place to create access to remove larch trees that had been affected by the disease.
But Mr Bevan said he was still unclear why they had been felled as they were beech and not larch.
"Trees the size of a football field which have been growing for 40 years have been felled," said Mr Bevan.
"They have devastated the trees which are beech.
"Once I complained about it they stopped.
"Everybody is complaining."
Aberavon AM David Rees said that following representations from a local resident he contacted the Forestry Commission to find out why these trees were also felled.
"I have contacted the Forestry Commission seeking clarification as to why these trees have also been felled and sought reassurances that replanting would take place as soon as possible," he said.
"The need to do so was as a result of infected larch trees alongside the copse of beech trees.
"It is important to eradicate all diseased trees from the Afan Valley so that we can replant and establish a strong woodland for the benefit of residents in the valley and provide exciting and scenic walks for visitors.
"We have seen the devastation within the Afan Valley that has occurred as a result of this disease and we must now look forward to re-establishing a vibrant woodland."
A Forestry Commission Wales spokesman said: "The beech trees in question were felled for the dual benefit of protecting the surrounding environment today and as a precursor to improving the environment for tomorrow.
"The felling of the beech trees afforded the easiest access to remove a stand of larch which had succumbed to ramorum disease of larch and were the subject of a Plant Health order requiring them to be cut down.
"Felling of the beech facilitated the removal of the infected larch by overhead 'skylines' as opposed to cutting large forest tracks into the embankment for the necessary machinery, with the attendant visual blemish to the landscape and environmental damage that this would have caused.
"Looking forward, the removal of some of the beech, along with the infected larch, presents us with an opportunity to extend the veteran oak woodland and to create a more attractive, diverse habitat for the enjoyment of future generations by planting more oak, ash, rowan and other native broadleaf trees.
"Such environmental improvement would not be possible without removal of the beech trees, as they provide dense shade that makes it difficult for other trees to grow."