DUDLEY nature lovers have launched a campaign to try and raise funds to replace a number of trees that are set for the axe in a popular park.

The funds would be used to plant 20 new trees in Buffery Park after the borough council confirmed they would be removing a number of existing trees due to disease - but not replacing them.

The appeal is being backed by Dudley MP Ian Austin who has offered to pay for the one of the trees himself.

Mr Austin has teamed up with the Friends of Buffery Park in a bid to help raise funds for the trees, which are expected to cost around £300 each to replace.

They will be asking residents, schools, businesses and other organisations throughout the area to help contribute towards the cost of replacing the trees.

The MP said: "Buffery Park is a much loved local green space used by lots of families in the area and I want to make sure it is preserved for years to come.

"I'll be paying for one of the trees out of the good causes fund I set up when I refused to take the MP's pay rise."

Steve Briscoe, chairman of the Friends of Buffery Park, added: "At a time when we should be planting more trees to encourage the environment, we are losing 20 of ours which the Friends Group are devastated about.

"That's why we are working with Ian Austin to try and raise the funds to get these trees replaced and do more work on Buffery Park to make it an even better place for local residents."