Monday, February 17, 2014
As rainfall becomes a little less intense and the immediate threat of flooded roads recedes, high winds have been combining with soft soil to cause a number of trees to fall in various parts of East Devon.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) staff have been working in response to calls about trees that have fallen on buildings, across roads or that may be endangering homes or highways.
The public have been asked to be patient as the Council has limited resources to deal with call-outs and staff are working flat out to cope.
Some extra manpower has been arranged to ensure that calls can be responded to as quickly as possible.
The most dramatic incident was on Saturday (15), when a large oak tree fell across a lane at Fairmile, crushing a barn in its path.
An EDDC Building Control Officer was called out on Saturday afternoon to assess the damage to the barn, which is part of Mill Farm – a listed building – and the risk to passers-by.
Later on Saturday afternoon, an EDDC Building Control Officer was also called to a site at West Hill, where two trees had blown down with one left resting against a large pine tree. There was concern that the pine tree could endanger properties nearby if it collapsed.
The Council’s tree officers are working hard to deal with the extra workload created by the recent storms, and tree clearance contractors have been working day and night as a result of the strong winds.
Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Falling trees are a problem in every part of the UK where there has been a combination of heavy rain and strong winds.
“I’d like to commend our Building Control and Countryside teams for their hard work in responding to a much higher than average incidence of fallen trees.
“The public are quite right to report these incidents to us and we will get to each one as soon as we can. We are trying to prioritise this work so that we attend the most difficult or dangerous scenes first.
“We’d appreciate it if people could be patient with our teams as they work their way through the list of calls.
“It’s also worth advising walkers and motorists to keep an eye on the trees ahead of them in case of a fall.
“If you are driving at night, please be especially vigilant and keep your speed down in case you round a corner and find a fallen tree blocking your path.”