A couple have mounted a campaign to protect a fallen tree in woods near their farm in South Crosland.
Edward and Angela Bradley, of Nether Moor Farm, have been told to remove a large oak tree blocking a public right of way on land they own in Dean Wood – or face prosecution.
Kirklees Council sent a letter demanding they take action after a member of the public complained about the tree.
But the couple – also embroiled in a right of way dispute over a track through their farm – are refusing to budge.
Mrs Bradley told the Examiner the tree was a haven for wildlife and the council had a duty to protect it not destroy it.
She has also argued that the path may not even be the official one intended for public use.
The dispute is the latest between the council and the couple, following a stand off in November 2014 when police were called when they blocked the track through their farm.
Mrs Bradley wants the fallen oak to stay and said: “It’s lain there for over 40 years. It is covered with moss and fungi and countless insects and bats call this home.
“The tree provides a spectacular natural habitat. The council have a statutory duty to protect the bio-diversity of protected woodland under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
“What’s more, it’s hard to tell if the path it overhangs is the official public right of way or not because the wood has several paths going through it.”
Mrs Bradley said the council even undertook work in the past to form a diversion around the tree.
“The council has known the tree has been there and in around 2013 they even created a diversion path around it with stepping stones,” she added. “People can also bypass it by ducking underneath it.”
Mrs Bradley and her public right of way advisor Andy Dunlop asked the council to visit the site.
“We want to discuss this sensibly because a balance needs to be struck between safeguarding the environment and the public right of way,” said Mrs Bradley.
“But they’ve not taken us up on this.
“Someone from the council should have come along to try to chop it down last week but they haven’t.
“So we’re not sure what they are planning but are worried about the tree’s future.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The council received a report of a fallen tree which on investigation was shown to be blocking a footpath.
“We have been in contact with the landowner and asked them to clear the route. We have advised that, if they are unable to do this, we will assist by removing the section that blocks the route for them.
“The council undertakes works of this nature in such a way to minimise any impact on the environment, and we will check for signs of a bat roost prior to carrying out any work.”