By Kiro Evans, Local Democracy Reporter.
A Bromley man is fighting to stop his horses being poisoned by trees in his stables.
Andy Brackstone is attempting to get the sycamore trees around his horse’s enclosure chopped down to prevent them eating poisonous seeds.
The seeds have already proved fatal to one of Andy’s ponies, and he says he is desperate to avoid it happening again at the Downe Hall Stables in Orpington.
The council will consider his application but a local residents’ association wants to block the move to protect the trees.
Sycamore trees produce seeds which are potentially harmful to horses if eaten, as they produce a toxin that can trigger a severe muscle condition called atypical myopathy.
Andy’s beloved pony has recently suffered this fate, due to the seeds blowing off the trees.
Andy told the council’s planning committee: “Having experienced one horse already be poisoned by these trees I am desperate for the same not to happen to my or any other horses at the yard.
“Surely the welfare of the animals supersedes the desire to protect all trees at any cost.
“After losing my beloved horse to sycamore poisoning I cannot support this movement enough.
“People fail to comprehend the damage and severity of sycamore trees and their seeds and the painful and fast-paced death they cause to horses and ponies.
“Poisonous plants and trees should be removed immediately when putting animals at such high risk of death. If only such measure had been taken before maybe I would not have lost my beautiful mare.
“The welfare of the animals should not be considered second nature to the temporary aesthetics of the street scene.”
Andy’s team also argues that the “helicopter nature” of the seeds mean they can be carried over long distances, ruling out moving the horses to a slightly different location, and they say it is not good for the welfare of the steeds to keep them in stables all day.
The Downe Residents’ Association is calling on the council to preserve any sycamore tree of public amenity as it would have a “detrimental impact” on the local landscape.
They said: “We believe that other measures can be taken to mitigate any risk posed by the sycamore seeds of these trees when necessary, which is not year round.”
The council is to consider the proposal and is believed to be exploring a compromise of reducing some of the smaller sycamore species across the area but leaving the older, bigger trees.
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