Subject: SORT Letter Friday, 29 Jan 2016
Dear Cllr Fox,
In less than a week’s time it will be four months since the previous “bi monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum. A lot has happened since the second meeting and you have initiated a felling survey to gather opinions from individual streets, as a means of helping decide whether or not mature highway trees should be felled on individual streets. Furthermore, you have limited who can participate in a felling survey to just the residents of the particular street where the trees are scheduled for felling. Also, you have initiated a separate tree panel to listen to complaints from streets where more than 50% of households on a street object to felling, who then advise you, based on their knowledge and experience. These steps do not address the matters we brought to your attention in the SORT letter previously sent to you, dated 14th July, 2015.
SORT do not approve of the felling survey, or the way in which the new panel is being used. Nor do SORT approve of your neglect to consult with key stakeholder representatives prior to your acts and omissions, such as your apparent decisions to cancel the third and fourth bi-monthly meetings of the Highway Tree Advisory Forum, without letting citizens know. Because there has not been any opportunity for SORT to discuss your acts and omissions, or those of the Streets Ahead team, or to contribute to the tree strategy currently being drafted, SORT have found it necessary to send you a letter detailing most of the matters that we would like to be addressed by the Council, as matters of immediate priority. The letter, dated 28th January, 2016, is attached to this e-mail (above), in PDF format. It is quite long, as there has not been any opportunity for communication with officials for almost four months, and we have had to educate ourselves, in the absence of a Local Authority tree strategy with sub strategy for community involvement. Because the document is quite long, an index is provided in the final pages, to aid navigation of the document.
We look forward to a full response that addresses each of the matters raised, provides the information requested, and that provides detailed, well-reasoned answers, supported by cited and referenced evidence.
And for a detailed breakdown of the issues and the community’s demands: