SHEFFIELD: THE MOST INCOMPETENT LOCAL AUTHORITY IN THE UK – news alert thanks to Technotronic
Jeremy Barrell in Sheffield with tree campaigners in Meersbrook and taking a welcome break from the rain and chill wind courtesy of a cup of tea from Jan Turner!
On Thursday 14th January, the article by Jeremy Barrell, which follows below, was published in Horticulture Week. Jeremy is a leading arboricultural consultant.
If you have never heard of this publication, imagine the most popular women’s magazine in the UK. Well, this magazine is the equivalent for landscape professionals & workers. It is arguably THE biggest trade publication in the sector. Every good workplace is likely to have a copy. Every horticultural/agricultural college will have a copy in their library (forever).
As Techno states, Sheffield City Council’s incompetence is now on record. Here goes:
“Barrell on……….Residents let down by tree loss in Sheffield, 14th January 2016, by Jeremy Barrell,”
“I heard that more than 1,000 street trees had been felled over four months in Sheffield, with many more for the chop in 2016, so I visited to see for myself.
It sounded bad, but the reality was beyond belief — managers blatantly disregarding community views and a failure to factor tree value into highway decision-making. I saw evidence of many high-value trees recently removed with dubious justification, residents being consulted after felling, extreme interpretations of the risk to people and infrastructure, decades of life left in trees scheduled for removal and irreplaceable heritage trees under threat.
All this was made worse by poor communication between the residents, the city council and its private finance initiative (PFI) partner, Amey, the company carrying out the felling as part of a street “improvement” programme. It seems to have been decreed that trees causing any damage to infrastructure or inconvenience to highway maintenance will not be tolerated. Perhaps understandable in the past, but such lame justification for mass felling in this modern age of feasible solutions is no longer credible.
The multiple benefits of trees are well documented, with London’s i-Tree canopy valuation confirming and quantifying the importance of existing trees.
It is unusual for ordinary people to take to the streets protesting over trees, but it is happening in Sheffield. In November, 400 residents attended a rally to voice dissent about tree loss and last week more than 100 people turned out on a wet Saturday morning to support a single tree.
In this case, it was an elm tree that survived the ravages of Dutch elm disease only to be tagged for removal because of “highway damage. Something is seriously wrong in Sheffield and any other British cities considering entering into a PFI agreement would be well advised to take a closer look at how not to do it.”
Jeremy Barrell with Rob McBride – ‘The Tree Hunter’ in Sheffield
And more from SORT –
Time is fast running out and your help is needed:
– Save Nether Edge Trees petition need to reach 5,000, by around 22 January, if the petition is to be heard by full Council on 3 Feb. You can help by joining for an hour or so, the Nether Edge campaign who will be doing a petition stall from 11am -3pm this Saturday, outside the Town Hall. The petition table will be in front of the Town Hall or within easy spotting distance near the Peace Gardens. Calvin Payne will keep an eye out for newcomers. Weather: sunny but cold. You can also help by spreading the Save NE Trees petition link: www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-amey-councillor-fox-streetsahead-sheffield-gov-uk-save-the-netheredge-trees
– Buy or sell SORT fundraising raffle tickets (£1 per ticket; 5 tickets per book). Quality prizes galore including champagne, Bradfield Brewery mini keg, family ticket to Steelers, 2 x Sunshine Stone baked take away pizza, 1hr massage and more! Raffle draw: Tues 3 Feb. For raffle tickets, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Help SORT reach the magic number of 15,000 petition signatures (we are presently at 14,955) by spreading our petition link: http://chn.ge/1dtg74B
Save Our Roadside Trees
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY – THANKS.