BLACKTOWN Council has defended its action in cutting down 15 trees for a cycleway in Doonside.
A spokeswoman said its Review of Environmental Factors (REF) had identified the mature native trees needed to be removed behind Shelley Crescent.
She was responding to a story in Fairfax Media on residents attacking the council for cutting down healthy trees.
"Trees which were directly affected by the location of the path or by the retaining walls were removed," she said.
"These trees were regarded as alluvial woodland and not part of the Cumberland Plain Woodland community."
On why it didn't realign the cycleway, she said the alignment was the most appropriate to constraints including floods, topography and vegetation.
She said the trees adjacent to any filled retaining wall areas and affected by up to 0.5 metres of fill against the trunk or close to the trunk of the trees were also removed.
"The fill material can change the oxygen and water ratio to the soil and 'suffocate' the trees, killing them and becoming a danger to the public," she said.
"Hence the trees affected are removed at the time of construction."
She said the council would replace all the trees destroyed with with locally endemic species of trees that would "enhance habitat and connectivity values".