NSTAR is planning to remove more than a thousand trees near major transmission lines in several communities west of Boston, as the utility works to prevent power outages that hit the region last year.
Cutting had started in May and was halted earlier this week after some residents objected, saying they are worried about debris from the trees. The transmission lines provide power to tens of thousands of residents.
“There is a potential for severe storms like we had last fall,” said NStar spokesman Michael Durand. “The situation could only get worse if we don’t do what we need to do to get trees away from power lines.”
Durand said the utility company is meeting with residents and administrators in the towns of Natick, Framingham, Wayland, and Sudbury. As the discussion with local communities continues, NStar has agreed to suspend tree removal work in those areas.
“Because we have heard concern from folks in those areas we have decided to temporary hold off on our tree removal work… so we can further our discussions with the local towns about how best we can address their concerns while at the same time maintaining our right of way to continue serving our customers reliably,” he said.
In Framingham, town manager Bob Halpin said the discussion is going well.
“I think we have things on track for better communication” with NStar, he said.
He explained that the concern for residents whose yards will be affected was more over the state of the land after the trees are removed.
So far, Halpin said, NStar appears to be open-minded about stump removal and other steps that could be taken to ensure that removal of the tree does not leave the land in ruins.
NStar has been sending out arborists to go door-to-door to speak with affected residents about the tree removal in their yard, Durand said. The company is also participating in several meetings with local officials to discuss the process.
“Initially it is a concern for folks in the area but long term it benefits everyone,” he said.
Durand could not speculate on when tree removal efforts would continue, but said the company would miss its goal of finishing tree removal by mid-June.