Hundreds of young trees in Palmer Park have been mowed down by the council by mistake.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has apologised after hundreds of saplings were wiped out in a “routine clearance of undergrowth” by its maintenance team.

The council said it will replace the cleared saplings with a selection of larger trees in the park.

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A RBC spokesman said: “Unfortunately these saplings were cleared in a recent routine clearance of undergrowth by our maintenance team.

“Regrettably, the whips were untagged and not clearly visible amongst nettles and brambles when the area was being maintained.

“To put the situation right, we are planning to replace the cleared saplings by planting a selection of larger trees in a suitable location within Palmer Park, which will have a far greater chance of reaching maturity.”

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Volunteers planted 800 saplings in 2016 and 2017 donated by the Woodland trust and with the council’s permission.

Kate Corder, who organised the planting as an arts project, said: “It is not a particularly nice situation for me.

“It is not a great move on their part”

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She also hit out at the council for not contacting her.

Dr Corder said: “I think it is very rude not to contact the organiser of the project.”

Tilehurst resident Steve Goodman, who took part in the planting project, said: “This is another demonstration of overwhelming evidence that we are all stuffed, because there are still no signs of the massive urgent changes required in response to our existential crisis happening.

“There can be no good reason for the council and contractors to be no longer aware of the planting and the need to care for the trees.

“I have returned every few months to check progress and have sometimes cleared nettles and brambles myself.

“The valuable young trees should certainly have been noticed by any professionals even if they had not been told about them prior to doing any work.”

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A RBC spokesman said: “The council respects and values the work of volunteers and we apologise to the community volunteers involved in the planting of the saplings for this unfortunate occurrence.

“Over the last decade we have planted over 1,895 new trees across the borough and we look forward to continuing to work with volunteer groups to further increase our tree numbers in the future.”