Campaigners are ready to call on help from the Queen to save two ‘beautiful’ oak trees.

Residents are continuing their plea to stop Hertsmere Borough Council from chopping down two trees in Ely Gardens, Borehamwood.

Housing association Clarion Housing says “several” of its properties in Ely Gardens have structural damage, which it says “appears to have been caused by subsidence” – which is being linked to the oak trees.

In November, campaigners held a rally and posted messages and balloons on the trees in a bid to prove to the council how much the oaks mean to them. A petition totalling more than 400 signatures was also created.

Now the Save the Ely Gardens Oak Trees Coalition, is trying a new approach to protect the trees.

The campaign group want to dedicate the oaks to the Queen Commonwealth Canopy Project – an initiative launched in 2015. The scheme is backed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The group said: “We wish to dedicate the Ely Gardens ancient oak trees to this project.

“This is a conservation initiative involving all Commonwealth countries. The project involves saving trees and woodland that may be endangered.

“Last year, the council declared a climate emergency to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050. Its plan is to plant more trees, which we are happy about, but we cannot allow for existing trees to be cut down at the same time.

“The key is to save as many existing trees as possible alongside planting the right trees. That way we may have some chance in succeeding.

“Oak trees are one of the biggest carbon eaters, we must do all to preserve them and look after them as they do clean our air.

We hope more people will join in and support general action to save the trees. In the end we have ‘Wood’ in our town name- it would be a crime just to cut it out.”

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Messages left on one of the trees

On February 19, one of the campaigners, Monika Siembida, was given an opportunity to present her case to the council’s Executive committee.

Within her five minute speech, she referred to a report published in 2016 which investigated subsidence damage at a property in Ely Gardens.

Speaking inside the council chamber, Mrs Siembida said: “We feel disappointed with Cllr Seamus Quilty, the council’s environmental portfolio holder, that his decision to remove the trees has been made based on such weak and inconclusive evidence.

“The insurance report released to us under a Freedom of Information request has many holes and discrepancies - for example the tests were conducted three years ago. If this was so worrying why has it taken so long to do anything about it?

“The report admits that ground movement that has caused cracks to the building had been the result of other factors like defective drains.”

Mrs Siembida raised a series of other points in her speech regarding the 2016 report.

She added that she is “saddened” by how this issue is being dealt with.

Councillors will now consider the points Monika raised, before coming to a final decision.

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The two trees pictured this month

The council says decision to cut down trees “are not taken lightly” and “thorough investigations” are carried out.

The council says it has investigated alternatives to felling the trees, including installing a root barrier and heavy pruning to reduce water extraction, but this work is “unlikely to be effective”.

If the trees are removed, the council says it plans to replace them with lower trees chosen by residents.

Clarion Housing said: “Whilst we recognise the environmental value and importance of trees, we are aware of structural damage to several of our properties in Ely Gardens which appear to have been affected by subsidence.

“Having sought independent expert advice, it seems that these subsidence issues are being caused by nearby trees and we are therefore supportive of the council’s plans to remove them.

“We are working with local stakeholders to prevent any further damage to our properties and minimise disruption to our residents.”