The borough’s tree wardens fear a recent decision to cut down nine mature lime trees at Roehampton University is the “tip of the iceberg”.

Wandsworth Council’s planning department has given permission for the nine trees to be cut down to make room for development at the campus.

Mary-Claire Mason, a tree warden from Putney, said: “The council justifies this on the grounds that the developer says it will replace the mature trees with young trees, but this is not a like-for-like replacement.

“Research in America in 2003 calculated that the financial value of a mature tree was at least 17 times greater than a small tree in terms of, for instance, reducing run off from storm water and removing carbon from the air.

“And young trees often do not make it to maturity for a host of reasons. It is time the council’s planning department took these facts on board.”

It is hoped the council will plant trees of equal size to replace the limes.

A council spokesman said: “Unfortunately there are trees that must be removed to allow this (important regeneration) work to take place – but the university will be planting 19 good quality replacement trees of appropriate size and species to compensate.”

To find out more about becoming a tree warden email wandtreeward @aol. com.