Councillors have upheld a decision to protect hundreds of trees in Yate Rocks from being felled by quarry owners Hanson.

The company has applied for planning permission to build a haulage road at its Chipping Sodbury site, which would involve removing a swathe of woodland at a site of nature conservation interest (SNCI).

It was only when this was submitted in April that South Gloucestershire Council officers realised the trees were not protected and could be chopped down, so they issued a tree preservation order (TPO) spanning a total of 4,105 square metres across two sites.

Hanson objected, calling the decision “disappointing” and arguing the order, which covers land either side of Brinsham Lane and another off Gravel Hill Road North, was unnecessary because it had proven itself to be a responsible landowner over 150 years in the area.

But the development management committee upheld the TPO on Thursday, September 16.

However, it is only a temporary reprieve because it would be overridden if members subsequently grant permission for the road linking Southfields and Brinsham West quarries, the meeting heard.

A resident told the committee: “We are extremely disappointed and concerned that there has been an objection to this perfectly logical decision to cover these trees with a TPO.

“This is a well-known wildlife corridor in an SNCI area and these trees play an important role in supporting the wildlife in the area when there has been so much development squeezing their natural habitat beyond acceptable levels.

“The TPO might only be a temporary protection but nonetheless a vital one.

“We cannot trust the landowner not to take the trees out now.

“If they did, these trees would be lost forever, which would be totally unacceptable.

“The mere fact they are objecting is of grave concern and the TPOs should remain firmly in place.”

Hanson consenting and development manager Trystan Mabbitt said: “We will follow due process in every single regard and it is not our intention to wilfully cut down trees.

“If nothing else, what we do is to seek to protect that environment.

“We have no intention of wilfully destroying any trees because it’s primarily us that has put them there in the first place.