City Chopping Down Beloved, Century-Old Tree to Prevent Berlin-Style Terror Attack

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By Heat Street Staff | 3:13 am, January 13, 2017

A 100-year-old tree in a British city is to be chopped down and replaced with concrete barriers to protect citizens in the event of a Berlin-style terror attack.

The species, a London plane tree, is in Centenary Square in Birmingham. But council bosses are to cut it down to make way for special benches which will be built in an effort to increase public security.

The benches, with deep foundations, will be installed to prevent attackers from driving large vehicles into crowds of shoppers, as happened last month when a truck was driven into the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. Last July, 434 people were injured and 86 people died when a truck was driven into crowds marking Bastille Day in Nice, southern France.

Birmingham council’s plans form part of a ¬£10 million revamp of the square that will see an estimated total of 25 trees removed.

Ian Ward, the council’s deputy leader, said: “These benches will be barriers and require deep foundations which mean the tree’s roots will be cut. We wanted to move the benches forward, but the square is used for big events, such as the Remembrance Parade and ice rink, so we needed the space.”

Mr Ward said that 59 replacement trees would be planted.