Guardian newspaper reports from the Sheffield front line……

Nazia Parveen North of England correspondent
Thursday 8 December 2016 09.45 GMT

Photograph: Gary Calton for the Observer"Why?" a sign in Rustlings Road, Sheffield, where trees have been felled

Sadness in Rustlings Road, Sheffield, where the contractor Amey felled a number of tree before dawn.

Sheffield council leader ignores calls to resign over 5am tree felling operation
Campaigners in Sheffield say 4,000 trees have gone since private finance deal was signed with contractor Amey in 2012

A council leader has ignored calls to resign over a pre-dawn tree-felling operation in which five people were arrested. Simon Crump and Calvin Payne were detained in the battle over Sheffield’s tree-felling programme.
Campaigners say 4,000 trees across the city have been chopped down since a 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) deal with the private contractor Amey was signed in 2012. The deal to maintain the city’s roads and pavements is said to be transforming Sheffield’s roads “from some of the worst in the country to the best”.

This month two women in their 70s spent eight hours in a police cell after they staged a similar demonstration to prevent trees on their road being chopped down. At a heated council meeting on Wednesday night, the Labour leader, Julie Dore, did not speak in response to a motion by the Liberal Democrat Joe Otten calling for her to go. Otten also called for the resignation of Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, over the events in Rustlings Road on 17 November.

Campaigners said residents were woken at 5am to move their cars ahead of eight trees being chopped down in Rustlings Road as council contractors took part in a “secretly planned” operation, backed by police officers. The council subsequently apologised for the way the operation was handled and promised that future tree removals would not take place before 7am.
At the council meeting in Sheffield town hall on Wednesday, Otten said an apology was not enough. Lodge responded by accusing the Liberal Democrat group of hypocrisy on the issue, claiming “trees were being felled across the city on a regular basis with no consultation with residents” when they controlled the local authority.

Dore did not make a speech in relation to the motion and left the chamber for part of the debate on it, returning for the vote, which rejected it.
Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “I expected her to be involved in this debate. This was the chance to look people in the eye and say: ‘We are sorry.’”

Meanwhile, Dore said in an earlier meeting that she would be reporting the Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg to the Parliamentary Standards Board over “out of order” comments she claims he made about her denying responsibility.

“I have never said the decision on Rustlings Road was taken out of our hands,” she said.

Before the council meeting, around 100 protesters gathered outside the town hall chanting “save our trees”, with dozens packing out the public gallery during the meeting.

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Sheffield Street Trees – commentary from Rob McBride – The Tree Hunter

Sheffield Street Trees – commentary from Rob McBride – The Tree Hunter

[WARNING – SOME BAD LANGUAGE!]

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More Guardian coverage of Sheffield street tree issues

Firstly, a feature on the arrests of the tree protestors:

guardian-on-tree-protests-friday-2-december-2016

Secondly, a robust editorial on the street tree protest issues:

guardian-street-trees-editorial-friday-2nd-december-2016

This includes sensible comments on the impacts of austerity – for more information, see also, my recent book ‘ The Rise & Fall of Countryside Management ‘.

 

Ian

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Sheffield’s War memorial trees under threat……..read on

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The Western Road commemorative trees in Sheffield – from the Guardian

This issue was first brought to my attention in September 2015 by Robin Ridley, (formerly of South Yorkshire Forest and now working with the Woodland Trust), ‘We have 52 trees on Western Rd, Crookes – commemorating the fallen from WW1 (plaque outside Westways School attached). We are ‘Zoned’ for 2017 works under Streets Ahead – many of these trees will go as they are “lifting the pavement” or throwing the kerb stones out of line.’

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Once again, these are excellent trees and in good health; what’s more, they commemorate the fallen of WW1 at a time when we as a community are acknowledging the debt we all owe ……

In short, what could be more insensitive than cutting them down merely for convenience? How crass!

The Guardian has now taken up the story:

guardian-on-outrage-at-threat-to-wartime-memorial-trees-thursday-1-december-2016

Unbelievable!!

 

Ian

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Free lecture: The Sheffield Street Trees debacle – an avoidable crisis

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Lecture to students & staff at Sheffield Hallam University

The Sheffield Street Trees debacle – an avoidable crisis

From 5 pm on 6th December in the Charles St Building of Sheffield Hallam University in Room 12.0.06

The Sheffield street tree crisis continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Sheffield is renowned the world over as one of the ‘greenest’ and well-wooded industrial cities in Western Europe. Urban trees, and particularly street trees, deliver huge benefits to society and especially in parts of towns and cities where there are only limited greenspaces. One important function (of the many) is the delivery of flood mitigation and climate proofing.

However, the privatisation of local authority services, (see: https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/the-unrecognised-impacts-of-local-government-cuts-on-countryside-and-environmental-services/), and responsibilities has triggered an unexpected crisis in its management of urban street trees – and this recently reached a new low with the misuse of Thatcherite anti-trade union laws to stop and arrest peaceful demonstrators simply trying to protect their roadside trees.

Furthermore, the consultancy report produced about ten years ago, and the recommendations of which have been used to justify the actions of Sheffield City Council and the private sector contractors, AMEY, has been misused and misquoted. The author of the report has now said that he never recommended anything on the scale of tree removal that the council have undertaken.

Local politicians of all parties are now very concerned about the issues and the actions.

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Trees, and especially urban trees, do require management – but with plenty of TLC. At the outset of the problem I offered to help to provide advice to AMEY but that offer was refused.

In part through my own work with the tree industry, leading arboricultural practitioners have visited Sheffield to assess the situation. This includes the authors of the national policy guidance on urban tree management. Their comments and conclusions are damning.

Come along and find out more.

Next up – dams across the valleys!

timber-joey

Professor Ian Rotherham

*[Note: this event is primarily for our students but all are welcome to attend.]

 

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And more….. important update from the Tree Hunter

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Update on street tree activities and campaign from Deepa

Dear supporters

A Tree Strategy will guide and inform decision-making with respect to the management of trees in all land-use categories, including Highway Trees, for the next 15 years. It is really important that we make use of this opportunity and for those of you who need a little encouragement to get your comments in, here are some tips: http://bit.ly/2fio7Ju

1. Focus on Q16, about Highway Trees. Doesn’t matter if some of the other questions are left blank.

2. The sub-strategy for Highway Trees should make allowance for the use of Flexi-pave instead of tarmac. It should have alternative highway SPECIFICATIONS that allow the safe retention of trees on tree-lined streets. There is no need to completely level pavements, they just need to be within acceptable gradients. The pursuit of flat perfection is neither appropriate nor necessary. Clauses 5.2 – 5.5 of the Amey contract allow for changes in service, the law, in highway standards and in council policy.

3. Also mention SUSTAINABLE management = maintenance of canopy cover. Wholesale felling of large crowned trees and substituting them with short-lived, small species with a 25% failure rate, is NOT sustainable management. Mention the use of Flexi-Pave instead of tarmac around tree bases and valuation of the ecosystem benefits that large crowned street trees provide.

You have until the end of 30 Nov 2016 to make your comments heard, i.e. the portal closes in TWO days, so get it done tonight if you can!

Other dates for your diary are:

1. THURSDAY 1 DECEMBER, 9AM. Rally outside the magistrates court to support Calvin Payne and Simon Crump who were arrested for peacefully standing under a tree, using anti-picketing law meant for Trade Union disputes. No-one was on strike here! Defend our rights to peaceful protest. Their case will be heard at 10am. You can also support via the Thunderclap campaign here: http://bit.ly/2fF41WB.

2. WEDNESDAY 7 DECEMBER, 1PM. Rally outside the Town Hall for Full Council at 2pm. This is where we ALL demand answers for Sheffield Labour Council’s total contempt of democracy and of civil rights, when it launched a night raid on the residents of Rustlings Road. We also need answers for the shameful complicity of South Yorkshire Police.

Please bring your banners and your voices. We WILL be heard by SCC. Only THEY are accountable for the fire that they’ve lit. We will no longer be fobbed off by their misrepresentation of facts and their bald-faced lies.

Thank you to everyone who came to show your support at the rally in Endcliffe Park on Saturday. It has been a difficult week for all of us. Please continue to show your support by getting friends and family to join STAG here: http://bit.ly/2fpnmzS to keep up to date.

We will continue to shine light on how our elected representatives and officials choose to conduct themselves, in this rotten Labour Council.

In solidarity
All For One, One For All
SORT

#LodgeOUT #GreenOUT #DoreOUT #AmeyOUT

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