Latest from the Sheffield Street Tree campaign

Petition update

Crowdfunding for Legal Action update from:
Deepa Shetty
Sheffield, United Kingdom

4 Feb 2016 — Dear supporters

Another deeply disappointing meeting of Full Council yesterday, where Labour Cllrs again block voted to do NOTHING in the face the vandalism of valuable highway trees across the city. Basic questions were asked:

1. Where is the Environmental Impact Survey?
2. How do we submit evidence to the ‘Independent’ Tree panel?
3. Why is the felling of healthy trees continuing across the city, without an acceptable tree strategy in place, to guide and inform decision making?
4. Why is there so much damage being done to the trunks and roots of OUR trees, if all Amey staff are supposedly NJUG trained?
5. Why is SUCH poor Amey workmanship continuing to go unsupervised by SCC?

These questions remain unanswered and we have been left with no other option but to pursue legal action.

A crowdfunding site is up and running here:
https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/sheffield-trees/

Please pledge as much as you can – if everyone pledges just a little, we’ll get the money we need to take this to court.

Thank you for your continued support.

SORT

**PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY – THANKS.**

Ian

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5 Responses to Latest from the Sheffield Street Tree campaign

  1. Technotronic says:

    BBC BREAKFAST

    I’ve just seen Dave Dillner (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) on TV, on Rustlings Road! 🙂

    SUMMARY:

    Footway ridging and kerb disruption is being categorised as damaging and dangerous, with ridging also classed as DISCRIMINATORY (hindering access & mobility). However, alternative highway engineering construction specifications can address all these problems and avoid felling. Many trees are being felled because Amey predict they will be severely damaged during resurfacing works. Compliance with National Joint Utility Group Guidance & British Standard 5837 would avoid such damage.

    This is a fully funded £2.2bn city-wide project that threatens 75% of highway trees: 27,000 MATURE HIGHWAY TREES. They have up to £1.2bn from the Department for Transport – TAXPAYERS MONEY! There can be no excuse for non-compliance with arboricultural and urban forestry good practice!

    Currently, there are no balanced risk assessments – valuation of benefits and cost:benefit analyses NEEDED.

    In a communication dated 7th July, 2015, the Department for Transport stated (see Appendix 3 of the recent SORT letter, dated 29th January, 2016):

    “Local highway authorities, in your case Sheffield City Council, have a duty under Section 41 of the HIGHWAYS ACT 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. THE ACT DOES NOT SET OUT SPECIFIC STANDARDS OF MAINTENANCE, as IT IS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO ASSESS which parts of its network are in need of repair and WHAT STANDARDS SHOULD BE APPLIED, based upon their local knowledge and circumstances. Central Government has no powers to override local decisions in these matters.”

    Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) gave a presentation at the second Streets Ahead Highway Tree Advisory Forum meeting, on 2nd September, 2015. He stated:

    “We are replacing about 70% of the City’s footways over the first FIVE YEARS. We have a duty to consider equalities. Now, in the past, existing TRIP HAZARDS have been left, and the Council has a defence under the Highways Act – SECTION 58 DEFENCE UNDER THE HIGHWAYS ACT – OF NOT HAVING SUFFICIENT FUNDING TO DEAL WITH ALL THOSE DEFECTS.

    European Directive 2001/42/EC (legislation):

    “Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community…
    …(1) Article 174 of the Treaty provides that Community policy on the environment is to contribute to, inter alia, the PRESERVATION, PROTECTION AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE QUALITY OF THE ENVIRONMENT, THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN HEALTH AND THE PRUDENT AND RATIONAL UTILISATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THAT IT IS TO BE BASED ON THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE.

    Article 6 of the Treaty provides that environmental protection requirements are to be integrated into the definition of Community policies and activities, in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development.”
    (European Parliament, Council of the European Union, 2001)

    The Government has agreed to adopt and apply the precautionary principle in its agreement to Agenda 21at the Earth Summit meeting at Rio, in 1992, which states:

    “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’ (Principle 15)”.

    Guidance provided by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) – “the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation”:

    “The Precautionary Principle is one of the key elements for policy decisions concerning environmental protection and management. It is applied in the circumstances where there are reasonable grounds for concern that an activity is, or could, cause harm but where there is uncertainty about the probability of the risk and the degree of harm.”
    (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, 2007)

    http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=2519

  2. Technotronic says:

    SAVING TREES

    On 23rd July, 2015, at the inaugural meeting of the Highway Trees Advisory Forum, Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) commented:

    “The other three Ds – Diseased, Damaging and Discriminatory – there is a degree or, erm, of judgement to be taken on it. That word was used earlier. So, JUST BECAUSE A TREE IS DISEASED DOESN’T MEAN TO SAY THAT THAT TREE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. It is the type of disease, the effect that disease will have on the tree’s life, err, whether it turns out to be dangerous, so on and so forth, and those judgements are made by tree people.
    […]
    In terms of damaging, yes, again, there is a degree of judgement and, erm, and, you know, if something can be done, IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. Err, there was a lots [sic] of comment made earlier on about whether a tree is removed as a last resort; and a tree is removed as a LAST RESORT.

  3. Technotronic says:

    SORT LETTER TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT

    IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ANYTHING TO DO WITH TREE MANAGEMENT, THE LETTER IS A “MUST READ” DOCUMENT

    The letter can be accessed in PDF format at the following links:

    http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SORT-LETTER-TO-THE-CABINET-MEMBER-FOR-ENVIRONMENT-AND-TRANSPORT_29th-January-2016_v1_v51_Corrected_a.pdf

    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/street-trees-letter-to-sheffield-city-council-cabinet/comment-page-1/#comment-1107

    The letter is dated 29th January 2016. It was e-mailed to Cllr Fox (CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT & TRANSPORT) on 29th January 2016, by Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG), acting on behalf of SORT.

    The letter also formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was distributed to every Councillor by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) – on 1st February, 2016, at 3:17pm – to encourage informed “debate” at the meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016, about tree population management. In reality, there was no debate. As usual, just a series of speeches and the usual political point scoring.

    • Technotronic says:

      SORT LETTER

      The more recent SORT letter – dated 29th January, 2016 – is 140 pages long. Appendices account for the remaining 238 pages of the document. References are provided on pages 125-139. An index can be found on the final pages of the document, to aid navigation of the document.

  4. Technotronic says:

    SORT LETTER / NETHER EDGE PETITION HAND-OUT

    When the recent SORT letter was e-mailed to the CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT & TRANSPORT) Cllr Fox on 29th January, 2016 (at 1:35pm), carbon copies were also sent to the following:

    julie.dore@sheffield.gov.uk (Leader of Labour Council);

    leigh.brammall@sheffield.gov.uk (Deputy Leader of the Labour Council: the man that says that the Amey PFI contract allows up to 50% of highway trees can be felled [66.7% of mature highway trees]);

    john.mothersole@sheffield.gov.uk (Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council);

    Simon.green@sheffield.gov.uk (Executive Director of SCC’s Place Management Team);

    david.caulfield@sheffield.gov.uk (SCC Director of Development Services: “with overall responsibility for highway trees”*, since Steve Robinson was relieved of his duties, in disgrace);

    steve.robinson@sheffield.gov.uk (the disgraced* SCC Head of Highway Maintenance);

    Dave.Aspinall@sheffield.gov.uk (SCC Woodlands Manager in the Countryside and Environment department: the man charged, by the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, with draughting a tree strategy for the city. Since the inaugural meeting of Cllr Fox’s Highway Tree Advisory Forum, on 23rd July, 2015, Mr Aspinall has had over SIX MONTHS working on the strategy. However, key stakeholder representatives, such as SORT; STAG or the Wildlife Trust have yet to be consulted and no detail of any progress has been publicised).

    *Beardmore, E., 2015. LISTEN: Sheffield Council ‘sorry’ after highways chief’s views on tree felling recorded. [Online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/listen-sheffield-council-sorry-after-highways-chief-s-views-on-tree-felling-recorded-1-7498357 [Accessed 26 October 2015].

    Beardmore, E., 2015. TREES: New council chief to lead Sheffield felling confirmed after secret recording apology. [Online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/trees-new-council-chief-to-lead-sheffield-felling-confirmed-after-secret-recording-apology-1-7530838 [Accessed 22 October 2015].

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