ECO-WARRIORS have held a tree-planting protest near Tweedbank following what was described 'a chainsaw massacre' to make way for a hotel development.

Members of Extinction Rebellion picked up their spades in protest after woodland next to the Melrose bypass was clear-felled last year.

The concerned climate activists planted around 75 saplings in a bid to repopulate the edge of the site with trees and hedging.

But developers have reacted by admitting all the new trees will be pulled up - and donated anyone who wants them.

A spokesman for New Land Assets told us: "The construction work won't allow these plants to be retained but it would be a shame to see them go to waste, so we would be happy to donate the plants to a good cause, if anyone is interested in rehoming the plants, please get in touch.

"Throughout the planning process we have worked closely with Scottish Borders Council and have an approved application that includes a detailed planting plan that will see new trees planted across the development as it nears completion."

The mature woodland which separated Tweedbank Industrial Estate and the A6091 was removed to make way for the development which will see a 71-bed Premier Inn hotel, a BP filling station and Costa Coffee Drive-Thru, all built later this year.

Despite a condition of the planning approval for pre-development planting to take place, environmentalists wanted to take stance against the felling.

Around a half-a-dozen members of Extinction Rebellion carried out a litter-pick on the site before plan, which had been donated by Greener Melrose.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We've made a small attempt to put right what was taken away by Scottish Borders Council's highways, but have no way of stopping the awful destruction that has already taken place on the site of the future hotel, petrol station and coffee outlet.

“It is symptomatic of our culture that woodlands and forests are seen as disposable and expendable, while small consumer items can be valued more highly.

"We ignore the loss of trees in the name of development at our peril.

“New plantings will take decades to produce enough leaf to absorb any significant carbon.

"With just a few years left to stabilise emissions in the atmosphere, every living mature tree on the planet is worth its weight in climate gold.”

The Borders Gateway development plans were approved in September last year with the works to clear fell the land taking place in November.