NEIGHBOURS have banded together in an effort to stop a supermarket giant chopping down mature trees containing birds and nests.

Aldi has felled at least seven trees on the former B&Q site on the corner of Lea Bridge Road and Heybridge Way in Leyton.

Earlier this year Aldi announced plans to open a new store on the site, creating 50 jobs.

Claire Weiss of Lea Hall Road in Leyton is leading the campaign to protect the birds and their habitat.

The 69-year-old said: “I was walking down Lea Bridge Road and I saw one of the trees in B&Q being chopped down. I was horrified because they’re mature trees that are in a group.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Trees chopped down at the new Aldi site in Lea Bridge Road.

“All the other trees on Lea Bridge Road in this area have been felled because the council is making cycle paths. We can’t afford to have any more trees chopped down.

“We have seen birds nesting in those trees. Aldi should stop destroying the trees - it’ terrible.

“We are very distraught about the situation.”

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence, except under licence, to intentionally kill, injure or take a bird or its nest.

Rachel Barrat, London Wildlife Protection Officer and founder of Waltham Forest Animal Protection, has written to Aldi asking them not to destroy trees containing nests, eggs or young birds.

She said: “I have seen wood pigeons nesting in a couple of the remaining trees.

“I have asked for an assurance that no trees containing nests, eggs or young birds will be cut down.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Trees standing on the site before Aldi began its work.

Ms Barrat says Aldi has failed to reassure her that remaining wildlife will be protected.

The supermarket said it plans to replace all felled mature trees with semi-mature trees.

But Mrs Weiss said it is simply “not good enough”.

She added: “The point is that they have chopped down a whole row of trees which is a wildlife habitat.

“Replacing it with semi-mature trees dotted around the area and standing alone won’t create a habitat for wildlife because it won’t protect them.

“There’s no reason at all to do it, they are doing it for cosmetic reasons. Those trees have got 40 years of life left in them. It’s unnecessary to chop them down.”

The group has started a petition calling for the remaining 12 common lime trees to be spared.

A statement on the group’s page read: “Lea Bridge Road is ugly and filthy and the only part that makes me smile is that group of trees as I go home.

“I don't understand. We go on about air quality/pollution, unhealthy living environment, so on and despite the very well-known fact that trees not only combat pollution but add a sense of well-being into our lives, we chop down the trees.”

To sign the petition click here.

A spokesman for Aldi said: “We have removed some trees from the Lea Bridge Road site during construction, as per our planning permission, to enable the ground to be levelled. None of these have existing protection orders and will be replaced by semi mature trees.”