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Despite strong opposition, the “historic” beeches of Neubourg have been felled


The showdown between the municipality of Neubourg (Eure) and environmental associations ended on Monday January 17 with the slaughter

It had been a year, in Neubourg (Eure), that two camps had been firing on all cylinders.

But it is the municipality that had the last word, this Monday, January 17: in a single day, 138 beech trees were felled out of the 167 bordering the alley of the Battlefield, after obtaining a prefectural authorization.

Property of the city, this tree-lined path closed for a year to the public to avoid an accident, was "condemned", write the municipality and the prefecture in their press release published from the first cuts: "Most of the trees were in a phase of decline" , they point out.

Read alsoIn Orléans, trees painted blue have unleashed passions

The municipality has in fact implemented its project unveiled a little over a year ago.

In May 2020, she recalls, a report from the National Forestry Office (ONF) highlighted the presence, on certain trees, “of fungi attacking the roots, heart and aerial parts (…) and accelerating decline and spread from tree to tree via the root system”.

The town hall then announced its intention to rid the driveway of all of its trees.

A petition with 70,000 signatures

Written by a student from Neubourg, a petition against the slaughter would however collect nearly 70,000 signatures and attract the attention of environmental associations, provoking large-scale media coverage which the small town of Eure would have done well.

To give themselves the legal means to prevent the felling, residents finally created the association "For the good beech of an alley", in November 2021.

After obtaining authorization from the prefect, 138 beeches were felled in a single day in Neubourg on Monday, January 17, out of the 167 along the alley of the Battlefield.

“We live very badly not seeing the trees standing anymore, comments its president and resident of the driveway, Yves-Marie Peraldi, the day after the felling.

"Everything is on the ground, it's a disaster, the site is ugly", protests this resident who says he is "taken aback" by the "speed" of the execution of the decree: "We did it arrive at 2 p.m. Monday while the slaughter was in progress.

It has not been the subject of a publication which would have allowed us to file a request for interim measures”.

"Nothing was done overnight or in secret"

Isabelle Vauquelin, mayor of Neubourg

According to the association, the last diagnosis of the ONF recommended that the slaughter “of 36 sick beeches and not almost all of them”: “That those who were sick be removed, it was indisputable. But the others could have been saved, provided they carried out regular maintenance prunings and were vigilant in the event of a storm warning. To maintain this alley which has not been maintained for years”.

Isabelle Vauquelin, mayor of the town, defends municipal action, after several studies, and since a second assessment of the ONF carried out in the summer of 2021 had shown "that the


of the trees had further decreased on one year and major or prohibitive alterations on the majority of them".

“Nothing was done overnight, or in a hidden way, she assures.

And it is not a decision taken by a municipality all alone in its corner.

As mayor, I had to combine security, biodiversity and landscape in the same decision.

It can't necessarily be seen from the outside, but the majority of the trees were sick.


Ten years of waiting for the young to grow

The municipality is now required to take compensatory measures, explains the elected official: “We are going to plant shrubs, ideally next fall, and think about the species to be replanted in the meantime in order to find them in nurseries with the soil conditions. and climate similar to ours.

Trees which, unlike removed beeches, will resist water stress, wind and sun.”

Five protected species had been identified on the spot.

For the associations, although two rows of 29 trees have been preserved from cutting to maintain biodiversity, the path is now a sterile place and it will be "at least ten years" before the young shoots grow and are not "colonized by protected species".

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2022-01-18

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