The removal of a fallen oak tree at Kingston cemetery cost the borough thousands of pounds, Kingston Council (RBK) has revealed.

As the Comet reported earlier this month, the oak tree came down following severe weather one resident described as a "mini hurricane" in Kingston on June 15.

The fallen tree caused significant damage to the immediate area, including to a gravestone nearby (pictured).

In response, RBK employed tree surgery contractors Advanced Tree Services (ATS) to remove the debris.

Responding to a request for comment from the Comet, a spokesperson for RBK revealed Monday (June 24) that the clean-up had cost several thousands of pounds.

"The council were told about the Oak tree which came down naturally in Kingston Cemetery. No one was injured and no burial sections of the cemetery were damaged.

"Our contractor acted swiftly to remove it, which cost £4,200," they said.

The RBK spokesperson added that they had sought expert consultation ahead of the clean-up process being completed.

"Due to the size of the tree, the stump will be removed once the remaining wood has been cleared and after an expert’s report on why it may have fallen," RBK said.

After the tree came down, Kingston-based ecologist Alison Fure told the Comet that a straightforward removal of the tree might damage biodiversity in the area.

Ms Fure said: "The company (could) spend three days cutting it up, which is rather alarming.

"This shouldn't happen, especially (with) oak wood which has an incredible amount of biodiversity associated with it...especially a tree of that age."

Despite highlighting that the tree and its stump would both be removed by ATS, RBK said that the debris could still be used at the site in order to encourage the flora and fauna in the area previously associated with the old oak.

RBK's spokesperson said: "Normal practice would be to create habitat piles and re-use chippings as a sustainable resource within the cemetery.

"We remain fully committed to preserving as many mature trees as possible in our borough.

"The council however has a legal duty to protect the public and we regularly inspect trees and remove those which are dead, diseased or dangerous in order to keep people safe from any potential harm."

As the Comet reported in April, RBK faced scrutiny over its tree policy earlier this year after the felling of 19 poplar trees in the borough, despite the council receiving conflicting advice over the necessity of cutting all the poplars down — some of which may have been healthy.

On Monday, the council insisted that its tree-planting programme would see thousands of trees planted in the coming years.

"In 2018/19, the council planted 523 trees on the highway and in our parks.

"We have a programme to plant 2,000 extra trees in our parks and streets over the next four years," the RBK spokesperson said.