DORSET Wildlife Trust plans to cut down thousands of trees on Sopley Common have been felled again by councillors in Christchurch and Hurn.

Civic and parish chiefs are objecting for a second time to the proposals to restore the common to heathland until an independent survey is carried out to ensure the area is not flooded as a result.

Parish bosses have also accused the Dorset Wildlife Trust of having a "cavalier attitude" because they claim the trust has been reluctant to talk to Hurn councillors about the proposed felling.

Judy Third, clerk to the council, said: "Hurn Parish Council would like to talk to them and feel that this lack of communication has led to the current situation whereby the parish council has had to object, yet again, to this application."

Christchurch councillors say they agree with the parish that the amended application does not fully overcome their initial objections that too many trees would be cut down next to the A338 and along the Avon Causeway.

But they have also insisted that any felling on the 30-hectare site must be environmentally sympathetic.

The trust wants to fell more than 5,000 pine and birch trees that have encroached from neighbouring Forestry Commission land.

The common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area under EC rules, a Ramsar site for bird interest and a candidate Special Area of Conservation.

It is also of archaeological interest with three scheduled ancient monuments.

Yet Natural England has told the wildlife trust that the common needs drastic felling to bring it into line with SSSI laws.

"Therefore we have a legal obligation," said Alastair Cook, press spokesman at the wildlife trust.

"As for being cavalier, it may be that our legal obligations do not allow us to negotiate with the parish council."

Even though the trust owns the common, it is the Forestry Commission which will make the final decision on the application.

Dick Preston from the commission told the Echo that no decision has yet been made.