Ecology Building Society loses battle to save ancient tree

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Bradford council gave the green light for the destruction of an ancient 100-foot high lime tree to make room for a new Aldi store, despite pleas and campaigning by the neighbouring Ecology Building Society to preserve it.

The Ecology Building Society launched a social media campaign earlier this month, calling for the tree in Silsden, West Yorkshire to be saved from “just another Aldi store”. The society said the plan was “one small bit of environmental stupidity we might be able to stop”.

However, planning laws were in favour of the retailer and the 250-year old tree was felled on Tuesday, despite the society’s efforts. Ecology had proposed that developers find a design for the new supermarket that would have saved the tree.

The society’s ethics manager, Anna Laycock said, “It was completely needlessly chopped down. It was horrible to watch it come down. The noise it made was incredible. The staff here were very, very upset and so were people in the local community. It is a beautiful semi-rural area and we do not believe that removing the tree was the only option.

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    “Such an important ecological and historical asset should belong to the local community, not to a global supermarket chain.

    “We are equally frustrated with Aldi’s attitude to its neighbours and the local community, the lack of transparency in the process, and their refusal to reply meaningfully to hundreds of messages of protest.”

    The Ecology Building Society offers mortgages for properties and projects that ensure the respect for the environment and was named Blue & Green Tomorrow’s 2013 sustainable bank of the year.

    Giles Hurley, joint managing director of corporate buying at Aldi, replied “We understand the concerns of the community regarding the removal of the lime tree in Silsden.

    “This was reviewed and discussed at great length with planning officers, and in line with current environmental standards, we reluctantly had to propose the removal of the tree. The development follows the approved plans which will include a significant replanting scheme within the site.”

    Further reading:

    Ecology Building Society among those supporting Sustainable September

    Ecology Building Society AGM: sustainable finance makes ground

    Ecology says record figures prove ‘commercial viability’ of sustainable finance

    2013 sustainable bank of the year: Ecology Building Society

    Ecology Building Society launch Twitter campaign to save neighbouring tree