Dalgety Bay Tree & Environmental Work
Dalgety Bay Tree & Environmental Work
Network Rail recently carried out tree and vegetation management work at Dalgety Bay station. The work aims to reduce leaf fall volume and improve operational safety.
The Frequently Asked Questions below may help to answer any questions you might have about this work.
If the answer to your query is not below, please use our contact form to share your question with the project team and they will come back to you.
Why are you undertaking this work here?
This work aims to reduce leaf fall volume and improve operational safety. Network Rail has already undertaken tree and vegetation management in this location within its boundary, but it has not been able to stop the problems from arising. This means we are now having to carry out works outside our boundary on third party land. The trees outside the boundary are nearly all high-risk species during leaf fall season.
Unmanaged vegetation can pose a serious risk to rail safety as trees can fall onto the line during bad weather or, when overgrown, branches and foliage can obscure signals from a driver’s view. In autumn, leaves on the line can affect train wheel traction to the rail which affects breaking distances, acceleration, and interferes with our signaling systems.
Dalgety Bay Station has a poor record for Autumn performance issues. The Dalgety Bay area alone has had an average of 13,575 minutes of delay over the Autumn Season (September to December) in each of the past five years in comparison to 8,394 minutes of delays out-with the Autumn Season.
Prior to carrying out any tree removal, specific high-risk leaf fall trees or trees which pose a safety risk to the line have been identified during site survey. Throughout the site, trees and shrubs which are not identified as a target species will not be felled unless they pose a safety risk to the line. We have identified trees that have Tree Preservation Orders, and these will not be removed.
Are you replanting what you are removing?
Once felling and removal of trees had been completed, Network Rail replanted the felled woodland areas with native trees and shrubs including Hawthorn, Birch, Hazel, Holly, Rowan, Willow, Scots Pine, Elder and Wild Cherry and will nurture these to manage the regrowth of woodland, to improve biodiversity and to offset the impact of the work on the local area. Network Rail will maintain these for up to five years. The tree species we will replant are not large leaved and will therefore greatly reduce the impact that leaf fall has to the safe operation of the railway in this area. The replanting schedule has been agreed with Scottish Forestry.
When replanting, to protect the newly planted trees and shrubs, biodegradable tree shelters will be used instead of plastic, as a more environmentally friendly option.
What about the effect on wildlife?
We have a team of ecologists who advise on the best way to reduce the impact of our work on wildlife and the environment. Ecologists have been involved from the outset to identify a number of trees, including a proportion of the high-risk leaf fall species, to be retained for biodiversity reasons, such as trees with bat roost potential. They have also conducted surveys for breeding birds and other protected species.
Network Rail has also implemented the ecology measures that had been promised which includes:
- Selectively retaining trees to create a commuting corridor for wildlife,
- Installation of 17 bat and 6 bird boxes which will enhance the already present natural features, for immediate use by wildlife,
- The creation of habitat piles at intervals along the site, created from some of the felled material to support invertebrates and insects which contribute to improving the overall diversity of the lineside,
- Retaining several high stumps which have had a variety of cuts and incisions added to them, to provide a variety of crevices for invertebrates and to open up the wood for colonisation of wood decay fungi, which will also result in various cavities caused by rot,
- We have also had bat roost features added to other trees in a bid to retain them,
- When replanting, to protect the newly planted trees and shrubs, biodegradable tree shelters were used instead of plastic, as a more environmentally friendly option.
Will cutting down trees affect noise levels?
In specific situations, trees can reduce noise. Belts of dense evergreen trees up to 50 feet deep and 30 feet tall, with dense shrubs at ground level can reduce some noise to a limit. However, the reality is that this very specific environment does not exist along our railway and what is in place does little to reduce noise. While we appreciate the feeling of disturbance can be heightened when a sound source becomes more visible, it is important that these works are carried out to ensure the safety of our neighbours, passengers and staff.
Will you be working during the day, at night or both?
Our main focus is to have the majority of work undertaken during daylight hours to minimise disturbance. However, there will be the need for some nightshift work to be carried out due to the positioning of the trees in relation to the railway. The nightshift work is scheduled to take place between 10pm and 6am on the nights listed below:
- Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st November each night
- Saturday 4th – Thursday 9th December each night
- Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th December each night
- Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th December each night
- Saturday 22nd – Thursday 27th January each night
- Saturday 29th – Thursday 3rd February each night
What about the structural stability of the embankment once trees are removed?
The Geotechnical Engineers at Network Rail are aware of the project and are involved in any Tree and Vegetation management works going on in the railway.
What about the public footpath?
Network Rail has liaised with Fife Council to agree the temporary closure of the public footpath on the North side of the line for safety reasons during the tree felling operations. Signage will be erected in advance of works to notify the dates and times that the footpath will be closed.