Preet Kaur Gill MP has today called on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to launch an investigation into the actions of Highways England following the removal of 100 trees along the M5 in Quinton.
Residents first contacted the Birmingham Edgbaston MP following the unexpected removal of the trees which protected 157 homes from the direct noise and air pollution of the M5 motorway.
The trees which were cut down were originally planted when the housing estate was first built in the 1960’s. As traffic on the motorway has got busier, the trees have matured to provide a natural barrier for the residents living on Clay Drive and Chichester Drive in Quinton.
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said, “For the last year I have sought answers on behalf of my residents and have been made promises by Highways England that simply don’t stack up. There was no consultation before these trees were removed, let alone warning that the work would be taking place.
“I have been to the houses which back on to the M5. I have been there when the trees were in place, and I have since they were cut down. You can’t miss the change in the noise level. It is now overwhelming. I also worry about what impact this is having on local air pollution.
“My residents have waited long enough, in frustrating circumstances for answers and compensation. They have received neither. That is why we have now raised this with the ombudsman. There must be a proper apology made to all the residents this has affected and the sound and air pollution that is now being felt must be rectified.”
In her letter to the Ombudsman, the MP Preet Kaur Gill has called for:
Immediate air quality monitoring to be installed on effected roads,
The installation of an acoustic barrier to replace the natural barrier that was provided by the trees,
An apology to all residents which have been impacted by the removal of trees,
Financial compensation for the impact these actions have had on residents.
Local resident, Melanie Davies of Clay Drive said, “While to the average person a few trees being removed might not sound like much, but the impact of 100 trees being ripped out has been devastating. What’s more, when we’ve tried to speak to Highways England, we’ve been talked down to and entirely dismissed. There was no consultation on this work and as a public agency, I think that is unforgiveable.
“Despite living next to one of the busiest motorways in the country, it used to be a relatively quiet neighbourhood. During the Summer, I used to love to sit in my garden and enjoy being outside with friends and family. Now, that simply isn’t possible. Not only is the noise deafening, but the pollution that’s coming from the motorway has meant garden sheds have a thick layer of black dirt covering them and at night, we have the lights shining from the motorway into our homes.
“I just want to go back to the peace we had before. This has been so stressful for so many of the residents here. We’ve seen house sales collapse and the value of our properties drop by as much as £30,000. It is only right that we see an apology issued to all residents from Highways England.”