MANCHESTER Airport’s decision to cut down centuries old oak trees as part of a £650m business development has sparked outrage.

Cllr Audrey O’Donovan, chairman of Ringway Parish Council said trees are being felled on Sunbank Lane in Ringway - even though the nesting season is under way.

She said: “They shouldn’t be cutting trees down in the nesting season which began on March 1. They’re big, old oak trees that they should be trying to preserve, not pull down. We should be trying to preserve our big oak trees, not cut them down. The airport doesn’t seem to care about this. It was green belt land until last July.”

The trees are located on Sunbank Lane in Ringway and Cllr Donovan said she has raised her concerns with Manchester Airport and the planning department at Manchester City Council.

She said: “They both say its all covered and they’re within the law.”

The trees are being cut down to make way for the Airport City Manchester development which will create 11,400 jobs over the next 10 to 15 years.

An airport spokesman said: "As part of early site preparation works vegetation clearance supervised by a qualified ecologist is taking place now to avoid the bird nesting season - these enabling works are permissible and do not constitute the implementation of the outline planning permission. Should nesting birds be discovered then works to that particular tree will cease."

The Airport City Manchester development includes new offices, industrial units, hotels, retail and leisure facilities.