NETWORK Rail has come under fire over its decision to cut back trees and greenery on train lines through East Renfrewshire.

Concerns have been raised about the works, which are expected to begin imminently along the Glasgow to East Kilbride line, which passes through Giffnock, Clarkston and Busby.

Back in August it was announced plant-life will be removed for up to six metres on each side of the 11-mile long tracks.

But residents and politicians have condemned the ‘gross and simplistic’ plans.
East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton expressed his concern about the move at a meeting held by the rail company.

He told the Barrhead News: “A number of constituents have been in touch with me about the planned tree-cutting along the railway line, and I was pleased to see such a strong turnout at Network Rail’s information event at Giffnock Library recently.

“I absolutely understand the strength of feeling and have been in regular contact with Network Rail over the past few months to see if they can alleviate some of the concerns raised with me.

“Whilst it is good news this work should ultimately lead to big improvements on the East Kilbride line, there is a balance to be struck. Network Rail has to do more to convince people it will be carried out in a way that not only minimises disruption but protects vital wildlife habitats along the line.”

In a letter seen by the Barrhead News via social media, Network Rail said environmental and ecological surveys have been carried out to identify any protected species or birds in the area before commencing work and, if there are, “appropriate methods” of working will be put in place.

The firm added that a variety of equipment would be used to remove the trees and vegetation, including chainsaws, flail machines and chopping machines.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are removing vegetation, so we can carry out detailed ground assessments ahead of future investment, including potential electrification of the line.

“We understand the removal of trees can be concerning for some residents, which is why we have written to neighbours along the route to make them aware of our plans and have also held a series of community drop-in events.”