A retired civil servant has promised to chain himself to the trees outside his home if Transport for London continues to chop them down.

Maintenance men armed with chainsaws arrived without warning in Watford Way, Hendon, last week and began cutting down a row of dozens of cherry trees lining the pavement.

Daniel McGannan, who has lived in the road for 50 years, immediately called TfL, who informed him the trees were being removed because they were diseased and damaged.

But the incensed 67-year-old got on the phone to his local MP Matthew Offord, who has now raised a dispute with the transport provider and is looking to have the trees preserved.

Mr McGannan said: “I can’t tell you what I thought when I looked out of the window and saw them chopping them down.

“These trees block the noise and pollution from the main road and they look beautiful when they are in bloom. I'll chain myself to them if they come back."

Conservative Mr Offord visited residents in the road last week and said he would be speaking to TfL to ensure the trees are replaced if there is no alternative to cutting them down.

He said: “The Mayor of London is planting new trees in Brent Street, but that’s no good if we’re just taking others away from here.

“I will be writing to the mayor and I don’t think he’ll be happy that his department is cutting down trees whilst he is pledging to plant 10,000 more across London.”

TfL insists its tree experts deemed the cherry trees damaged and diseased and says it will ensure replacements are planted.

Dana Skelley, director of asset management at TfL, said: “We appreciate that local residents are fond of the trees along the A41 Watford Way. Unfortunately, following investigations, a number of mature trees now sadly need to be removed as a number of serious defects have been recently identified.

“We appreciate that these trees are much loved in the local area, and already have a programme to ensure that replacement trees are planted as close as possible to the original locations. Where possible, we will also be planting additional trees throughout the area.”