A BUSY road through Swinley Forest will be closed for up to five days while work is done to reduce the risk of another devastating fire.

The A3095 Foresters Way will be closed in both directions between 9.30am-4pm from Monday, April 30, for up to five days while contractors for Bracknell Forest Council mulch felled trees, clear gorse and stabilise and reseed banks that lost trees following the large-scale fires last May.

Traffic will be diverted along the A3095 Rackstraw Road, A321 Marshall Road, A30 London Road, A322 Bagshot Road and the B3430 Nine Mile Ride or this route in reverse.

Cllr Mary Ballin, the council's executive member for planning and transport, apologised in advance for any inconvenience caused during the off-peak road closures but said there was no other option.

Steve Loudoun, chief officer for environment and public protection at the council, expained: "We are now approaching the wildfire season, and with the weather getting warmer and the lack of rain, the potential risk of forest fire is increasing. The work we are carrying out along the verges of Foresters Way is essential if we want to minimise the potential risk of fire and reduce the risk of dead trees from falling.

"Closing the road for five days is essential, as the mulcher is a large piece of specialist equipment that requires a minimum of a 50m safe working zone. "We have explored a number of options and unfortunately there is no other alternative."

Last month, council contractors cut and cleared dead and dying trees along the verges of Foresters Way between the junctions with Magdalene Road in Sandhurst and the B3348 Bracknell Road in Crowthorne.

The trees had been monitored to see if they would regrow following the fires last year that affected more than 300 hectares and raged for more than a week.

A replanting scheme has been started by the Forestry Commission with help from volunteers, who took part in work days earlier this year.