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Oppose the Plans for the Wholesale Felling of Mature Trees in Lewes

April 3rd, 2023

It is deeply disturbing how many invaluable mature trees are felled in our community spaces. If you feel as strongly as I do, please oppose the wholesale cutting down of the trees in the green corridor at the entrance into Lewes! You can sign the petition here.

The company Human Nature have submitted their planning application to develop the Phoenix industrial estate in Lewes.

The developer is planning to cut down most of the trees on the industrial estate and all the trees along the Phoenix Causeway (on the left hand side as you walk from the town towards the bridge).

These mature trees house a host of wildlife (birds, insects, small mammals), provide oxygenation to a heavy traffic area and constitute a valuable amenity to the town of Lewes that is not replaceable by the puny landscaping the developer is proposing to put in its place.

As Andy Egan, the Head of Conservation Policy at the Woodland Trust puts it: “The older a tree is, the more wildlife it supports, the more carbon it sequesters, and the better the canopy is. Mature trees are not replaceable with a sapling. There seems to be no appreciation that the starting point for regeneration or redevelopment should be designing around the nature that is already there.”

All the trees along the Phoenix Causeway are covered by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). Tree Preservation Orders are most commonly used for urban and semi-urban settings, and for trees with high ‘amenity’ or ‘nature conservation value’. As Lewes District Council state in their website: “A TPO is applied to protect trees which bring significant amenity benefit to the local area.”

However, TPOs can be overridden by a planning application if the relevant authority agrees.

Note: the TPOs make allowance for a developer’s creating an entry into the site from the Causeway, so there is absolutely no need to fell all of the trees as Human Nature are intending to do.

The Lewes Arboretum i-Tree ecosurvey shows that as we stand we only have 11.5% tree canopy cover in Lewes, while the minimum recommendation for urban environments is 20%. Click here for a link to the survey.

Please join us in letting the South Downs planning authority know that we do not agree to the trees being felled. Sign this petition and let others know of it too.

You can also make representations about the application. It is important that as many of us as possible object as this will make the planners take notice.

You can tell the planners your views in the following ways:

·      on-line at

·      in writing to the South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH
By emailing 

Remember to quote the case reference number SDNP/23/00526/OUT

The deadline for comments is 21 April 2023.

4 Responses to “Oppose the Plans for the Wholesale Felling of Mature Trees in Lewes”

  1. Signed. I find it so deressing the way “developers” (i am inclined to call them destroyers) think trees are expendable. I am sure you ahve seen the events in Plymouth where mature trees were felled under cover of darkness in the face of pubic opposition 🙁

  2. It is appalling that we have to create petitions to stop people chopping down our trees! Total lunacy

    • “First confirmed in Britain in 2012, ash dieback, previously known as ‘Chalara’, is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus). Ash trees across much of England are now symptomatic of ash dieback, and it is expected that the majority of ash trees will subsequently die from or be significantly affected by the disease in the coming years. Currently there is no known efficient prevention or curative treatment.”(Forestry Commission Practice note no.46) How many of these trees are ash? When felled, as appears inevitable, how stable will the remainder be on this thin-soiled, artificial embankment? To what extent are the requirement s of the Highways Authority for 3 bus stops a reason for the tree loss?
      Find out the facts and think before a knee-jerk reaction.

      • Some feedback: “In terms of Ash Dieback disease, there are only four ash trees in the group under TPO in the Phoenix Causeway. No evidence has been provided that any of them are diseased. Moreover, good practice guidance by the Tree Council about ash dieback clearly states: “several studies have reported that a low percentage of ash trees – between 1% and 5% of the population – may have a genetic tolerance to ash dieback, meaning they can survive and reproduce to eventually create the next generation of ash trees. By retaining trees with no or limited signs of ash dieback, owners and tree managers might allow precious ash dieback-tolerant trees to live and reproduce. In addition, dying and dead ash trees have huge ecological value, especially mature, veteran and ancient trees, so provided that they are managed following current guidance on tree risk management, it’s important to keep them in the landscape.”

        Sussex Wildlife Trust have also told us that they have seen from the plan that “some Category A trees are being removed, many of which are along the Phoenix Causeway (groups 13 and 14), and I would call this a cause for concern. These trees are estimated to have another 40 years of ecological contribution each, so replacing them at this stage could prove to be irresponsible.”

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