TREE surgeons have moved to put bird watchers' minds at rest as preservation work in a popular woodland is due to start.

Harrogate Borough Council's arboricultural team say work to thin out Allen Wood, in Pannal, near Harrogate, will not affect nesting birds.

The comments come after bird lovers expressed concern about the work.

Alan Gilleard, from the arboricultural team, said: "We have already marked out the trees which will be removed and we have asked the contractors to inspect trees for signs of nesting birds.

"It is normal practice that if a nest is noted, the trees will remain untouched and an exclusion zone will be created which also prevents any surrounding trees from being felled.

"I am happy to report we are not aware of any nests within the wood at this time."

Mr Gilleard said said woodland thinning is common practice, used to remove weak and poor quality trees to leave healthy, well-structured specimens.

In addition, the opening of the woodland canopy allows light onto the floor and encourages ground flora.