Seven Dials residents have begun a David and Goliath battle with Network Rail. The Hove Cutting Campaign was launched to stop Network Rail from destroying lush vegetation and thriving wildlife along the steep railway cutting that runs between Dyke Road bridge and Montefiore Road bridge in Hove. The proposed project is scheduled to begin on 29 February. Residents hope that local councillors will help bring the two sides together at a meeting to put pressure on Network Rail management to consider alternative ways to achieve their objective of maintaining the safety and efficient use of the track without outright destruction of the rail-side vegetation.
Millie Ferguson, an Addison Road resident and secretary of the local Dials North West Community Association heads of the Hove Cutting Campaign. She says, “The residents are shocked by the total disregard shown by Network Rail towards residents and wildlife. They have not consulted anyone about how much impact the works will have on us. Cutting mature trees feels wrong on many levels. Besides, the trees on the cutting are key to maintaining the integrity of the rock face as well as for water balance as their roots provide run-off for rain water.”
Network Rail is planning to strip away all the vegetation and trees along the Hove cutting train line that directly backs onto resident’s gardens, and it is also preparing to spray herbicides on all of the embankments to prevent any regrowth. Laura Walker, an Addison Road resident says, “We are extremely worried. Network Rail has not informed residents what chemicals these herbicides will contain and how poisonous they will be. As well as killing off trees and greenery, they have not considered the harmful impact this could potentially have on residents, their children, pets, wildlife and plantlife in local gardens.”
Another Addison Road resident, David Rutter comments: “We have tried to contact Network Rail on several occasions to arrange a meeting but no one responding. We are not against them coppicing the trees – we absolutely understand that the vegetation needs to be maintained for safety reasons, however, removing everything just seems like an extreme, unnecessary and cost-cutting solution.”
The campaign group hopes that not only local residents but also people nationwide, wildlife ambassadors and environmental campaigners will support them in their battle with Network Rail. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support them on Twitter: @hovecutting (#savehovecutting)