EUROPE’S longest and oldest green wall has been partially cut-down for a “possible” cycle lane.

The living wall in Madeira Drive was planted by the Victorians and is a wildlife reserve.

Brighton and Hove City Council has confirmed today that the Local Wildlife Site was cut on purpose in order to build a “possible” cycle lane in the road.

A spokesman said: “During planning work for a possible cycle path on Dukes Mound we identified the need to cut back the overhanging vegetation for important safety reasons, to ensure a clear line of vision for cyclists.”

Local Wildlife Sites are areas of land that are “especially important” for their wildlife, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

The sites are identified and selected locally using scientifically-determined criteria and surveys and are corridors for wildlife, forming “key components of ecological networks”.

Building Green, which helps the council look after the Green Wall, said it was “shocked” it was not told of the plan to slash down the eight Japanese spindle plants, planted in 1872.

The organisation said the council was commissioning a report into what happened. It added the incident was a “miscommunication” relating to the creation of a new cycleway in the road.

The Green Wall experts said they were “hopeful” the plants would grow back on the wall, exposed for the first time in about 150 years.

The Madeira Terrace Green Wall was partially cut down for a possible cycle lane

The Madeira Terrace Green Wall was partially cut down for a 'possible' cycle lane

The council spokesman said: “We would like to reassure our residents that the green wall at the Dukes Mound junction has been cut back with its roots left intact. The greenery should regenerate and grow back again. 

“We will be training the new growth up the wall, to make sure visibility on the highway is maintained.”

A protected two-way cycle lane on the south side of the carriageway was previously built on the road earlier this year.

The cycle lane on the pavement was removed to “create additional space for pedestrians”.

Speaking about the cutting down of the Local Wildlife Site, the council spokesman said: “This work was agreed as part of our wider plans for redeveloping the Black Rock site.

“The Project Team has a two-year maintenance programme for landscaping and an Ecological Management Plan in place.”

When the referenced Ecological Action Plan was checked by The Argus, it was found to say: “…there are unlikely to be any impacts on Madeira Drive Green Wall.”

The council was asked whether it had considered the wall as a Local Wildlife Site before the decision was made, who was involved in making this decision, why Building Green was not consulted, and what the “miscommunication” referenced by Building Green was.