Home Environment and health 134,000 people want Wisley’s trees saved

134,000 people want Wisley’s trees saved

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The treeline at RHS Wisley, no longer under threat by A3 widening plans. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard
The treeline at RHS Wisley, no longer under threat by A3 widening plans. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard

Petition to save RHS trees from A3 widening ends

More than 134,000 people have signed a petition in just seven weeks to save trees at RHS Wisley under threat from plans to widen the A3.

The results will be shared with the Department of Transport and Highways England to ensure that everyone’s views are taken into consideration.

RHS Wisley could have more than 10,000 sq. metres of woodland taken from it and more than 500 trees destroyed, including one planted by The Queen to mark her Silver Jubilee.

There are two options available to Highways England to widen the A3: one on the east side of the A3 and one on the west. The RHS is calling for the east option which does not grab woodland from the garden and would better improve road access to Wisley.

Increase in noise and air pollution

Irreplaceable historic trees that are more than 100 years old could be chopped down if the west plan goes ahead, which would increase air pollution and destroy the habitats of a wide range of wildlife.

Losing this 30m (100ft) natural barrier of trees on Wisley’s boundary would be visually devastating and increase noise pollution in the garden.

The Rock Garden and Glasshouse at Wisley in autumn. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard
The Rock Garden and Glasshouse at Wisley in autumn. Picture; RHS/Carol Sheppard

In principle, the RHS supports plans to make improvements to the M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange. The concern is that of the two options being put forward by Highways England to improve Junction 10, both would involve widening the A3 and could take land from the garden.

Along with highway experts, the RHS has come up with a viable option, which would allow widening of the A3 on the east side and would not destroy the woodland. In addition, a new route from the east, with other modifications, would allow greater accessibility now and in the future for Wisley’s 1.2 million visitors.

There is also concern that some proposals for the A3 would involve additional travel for visitors to get to Wisley, some adding more than 3.7 miles to the journey.

Trees under threat

Important trees that would be lost forever include:

  • ‘The Queen’s Tree’, planted by the RHS’ Patron Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Silver Jubilee.
  • Five trees identified as threatened and endangered in cultivation by Plant Heritage’s Threatened Plants Project, including a Norway maple (Acer platanoides ‘Olmsted’), a beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Quercifolia’), two hollies (Ilex ‘John T. Morris’ and Ilex aquifolium ‘Frogmore Silver’) and a lime tree (Tilia americana ‘Redmond’).
  • Excellent specimens of the giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) would also be at risk.
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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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