The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Regional Roads Victoria are investigating the illegal felling of trees and removal of wood within remnant vegetation along the southern side of the Princes Highway between Bairnsdale and Stratford. 

DELWP Program Manager Compliance Operations, Peter Simpson said: “We’ve estimated that about 20 trees have been felled there recently and it looks as though the trees have been cut into foot blocks for firewood. 

“Remnant vegetation that abuts the Princes Highway between Bairnsdale and Stratford is of high conservation value as it contains stands of remnant grassy woodlands once found more broadly in the area,” Mr Simpson said. 

“A number of the trees that have been felled are large dead mature trees that provide critical habitat, particularly for nesting birds. 

“Some of the trees have been left hung up (only half felled) posing a safety risk to road users and contractors currently working in the area. 

“Regional Roads Victoria had to deploy a contractor to bring these trees safely to the ground. 

“We’re keen to hear from anyone with any knowledge about who might be responsible for this dangerous and illegal activity that has a significant impact on the local environment and poses a major safety risk to the public.” 

If you have any information to help with the investigation, please contact DELWP on 136 186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

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