25th February 2016
Good news for the Brimmon Oak
After much local campaigning, the Brimmon Oak in Powys, which was threatened by the planned Newtown bypass, should have a more secure future. Ministers have agreed to adjust the route of the new road in order to give the tree and its roots better protection.
The extent of the original planned route of the bypass would have come within five metres of the trunk of this 500 year old Welsh Oak pollard, and almost 5000 people signed a petition to protect the tree.
Rob McBride, co-opted supporter of the Ancient Tree Forum, and ‘tree hunter’, campaigned alongside local people and the decision has now been made to have a 15 metre radius root protection zone around the tree. ‘I am overjoyed that Welsh Government Minister Edwina Hart has decided to ‘bend the bypass’ to help save this ancient tree. The future of this fantastic piece of Welsh heritage and culture is now much more assured and we will be vigilant in keeping an eye on the works as they progress.’
The Ancient Tree Forum recommends having a larger Root Protection Area than the minimum recommended by British Standard 5937, especially in cases like this where the tree is irreplaceable. The Forum recommends a radius of 15 times the stem diameter at breast height, or five metres beyond the edge of the tree’s canopy, whichever is the greater (see the guidance in the handbook – Ancient and other veteran trees: further guidance on management, edited by Dr David Lonsdale). However, achieving an extra 10m radius of root protection in these circumstances is a great achievement.
Mervyn Lloyd Jones and his family who own the Brimmon Oak have been on the land for many hundreds of years says Rob McBride. ‘Family photos including a wedding photo taken underneath the tree in 1901 were used to help prove how very special this ancient Welsh oak tree is. Mervyn feels a duty to look after this great oak tree, and he is so happy at the decision and grateful for all the support he has had.’