Residents of the Coshowen estate on Foyle Road have expressed their anger at the cutting down of 40 trees in front of their homes.
The trees were cut down by Housing Executive contractors on Monday as part of plans to landscape the area.
The residents said they were not consulted about the removal of the trees, many of which were planted by people living in the estate.
Chairperson of the Coshowen Residents Association, Mickey Kelly, said the removal of the trees has angered local residents.
“This would be classed as sheer vandalism in any other context,” he said. “It removed a key feature of an estate that has won top prizes for ‘Best Kept Gardens’ in N. Ireland.
“The forest was planted by one of our first residents, Mr Alan Brown, nearly 40 years ago. A few were planted by local children. Almost 40 trees fell victim to the Housing Executive saws. Residents returned to find only a few trees left standing. Protests stopped more damage but by then only a few trees were left,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive apologised to the residents for not consulting with them about the trees. “We apologise that residents of Coshowen were not advised of the cutting down of the trees in advance of the contractor going on site on Monday. The contractor was immediately available to do the work and the weather conditions were suitable.
“We can confirm that the trees were not diseased but we would refute the assertion by the Coshowen Residents Association that the environment has been wiped out. Indeed, whilst the work was being carried out a number of residents expressed their satisfaction at the work. In fact, we have retained ample wildlife habitat and enhanced an area of aesthetic beauty in a confined urban space where the remaining trees can grow to their full maturity.”