Sheffield Street Trees important update

A NEWS UPDATE FROM MR DILLNER

Dear Supporter

The hearing for the judicial review in the ‘Save Sheffield’s Trees’ case is listed for 22nd March to be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Tomorrow, Friday 18 March, we are re-opening our crowdfunding campaign in order to raise £10,000 to cover further legal fees. The link will be the same as last time:

https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/sheffield-trees/

Sheffield City Council, the defendant, and Amey, the interested party, (who signed a £2.2billion contract with the City) are strongly contesting the case saying they (the City) did not have a duty to consult local residents on the tree felling proposals and that there is no environmental harm from the proposed tree felling.

They are also contesting that the Aarhus Convention applies to the claim saying the City’s action has nothing to do with environmental harm.

The Council and its contractor Amey have instructed a senior barrister and have lodged huge quantities of documentation – it is plain that we have a fight on our hands but there is a huge disparity of resources.

The firm Richard Buxton Environmental & Public Law and barrister Charles Streeten have stepped up to the plate and are making it possible for us to fight back by agreeing to work on a part conditional fee arrangement. We are re-opening the crowd funding so that we can try to cover their fees.

We are hugely grateful for your generosity! Without it, we wouldn’t have got this far in saving our trees, and hundreds of trees would already have been felled. The injunction gave them a reprieve.

Now we ask you please to consider giving a little more. Or just pass the link:

https://www.crowd justice.co.uk/case/sheffield-trees/

on to others, share widely, so that others can contribute too.

Small donations make a difference, any amount helps to cover our costs and save our trees.

PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY – THANKS – Ian

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8 Responses to Sheffield Street Trees important update

  1. Lammergeier says:

    AMAZING MR DILLNER

    Mr Dillner campaigns for a responsible, strategic approach to the management and care of Sheffield’s urban forest and each component of it, to help ensure that those responsible for policy and decision making adopt reasonable, prudent, rational, steps to help ensure:

    a) that a transparent and fair framework exists to provide necessary information to the public prior to the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment;

    b) that appropriate practical and/or other provisions exist for the public to participate during the preparation of plans and programmes relating to the environment;

    c) adequate openness, honesty, transparency;

    d) adequate consistency and accountability;

    e) temperance of a destructive, harmful, risk-averse approach to management;

    f) that acts and omissions are proportionate, defendable and not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions;

    g) that reasonable steps are taken to prevent serious and irreversible environmental degradation;

    h) that the range, magnitude and value of the beneficial ecosystem services that trees afford to neighbourhoods and communities is maintained, with safeguards in place to prevent unnecessary losses;

    i) that adequate safeguards exist to prevent significant negative impact on the shape, size and distribution of the canopy cover at street, neighbourhood and city-wide levels.

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-files-high-court-defence-to-tree-felling-injunction-1-7763448

  2. Technotronic says:

    TREES: MINUTES FROM PIVOTAL COUNCIL MEETINGS

    This week (6th April, 2016), the Council published the minutes of the meeting of full Council that took place on 3rd February, 2016. Hopefully you will find the minutes attached to this posting. However, if not, they can be accessed – as all minutes from meetings of full Council – at:

    http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=6022

    It is under the sub-heading “Minutes of Previous Council Meetings”.

    Questions about trees are on pages 6 & 7 of the PDF; a redacted version of the petition, followed by the Council’s response, can be found on pages 18 to 24. The document is of interest because the meeting on the 3rd February, 2016 is the meeting at which the Council, “resolved” to:

    “commit to be OPEN and TRANSPARENT with the Sheffield public in ensuring ALL OUR INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE in the public domain.”

    It was at this meeting that the Leader of the Council (Cllr Julie Dore: Labour) stated that the Council was entitled to treat any question they receive as a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and then send it to the Information Management Officer to be dealt with. This was revealed in response to a question asked at the meeting by a citizen: Mr Brighton. The Information Management officer (Mark Knight) has since confirmed that Cllr Dore was right. See the FOI correspondence for FOI reference: FOI/1599. In particular, see the letter from the SCC Information Management Officer dated 3rd March, 2016 (relating to FOI reference FOI/1601):

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/full_work_contact_details_for_sc

    It was at this meeting that the Nether Edge petition was presented before the Council, by Mrs Carly Mountain. It was similar to Dr Deepa Shetty’s SORT petition that was presented before full Council on 1st July, 2015, by Mr Alan Robshaw and Ms Louise Wilcockson. Both called for a city-wide halt to the felling of highway trees:

    “a stop on tree planting and on all tree felling operations that do not include works to trees that represent an immediate and reasonably foreseeable danger of serious harm or damage in the near future, until a tree Strategy has been commissioned, completed, adopted as Council policy and is adequately resourced and ready for implementation.”
    (from page 6 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016).

    Another reason why the meeting was so important is because it was the meeting at which the Council chose not to answer any questions asked by citizens at the meeting, from the public gallery, about highway trees. The council resolved to continue as planned with the city-wide felling programme for mature highway trees, under the Streets Ahead project and to take no further action in response to the petition.

    To quote from page 181 of the SORT letter, dated 29th January, 2016:

    “NOTE: 5,000 Signatures were necessary to trigger a ‘debate’ at the meeting of full Council. The Council was only allowed to vote for one of two options, as protocol dictated:

    ‘1) note and take no action for the reasons put forward in the debate, or

    2) refer the petition to either the Cabinet, a Scrutiny Committee, a Cabinet Member or an Executive Director for consideration having regard to the comments made by Members during the course of the debate.’

    In the case of the SORT petition, ALL 59 LABOUR COUNCILLORS (70% OF THE ENTIRE COUNCIL) OPTED FOR THE FIRST OPTION **, even though they had received the 29 page SORT hand-out*. However, even if the second option had been chosen, the scrutiny committee is only made up of councillors, not people with an adequate combination of education, knowledge, training and experience relevant to the particular matters raised, and with an adequate understanding of the requirements of the tasks involved.

    *A shorter version (Save Our Rustlings Trees, 2015a) can be accessed via the following link:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/streets-ahead-stocksbridge-trees .”

    ** http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/still-room-for-compromise-over-sheffield-trees-debate-says-former-mp-david-blunkett-1-7340615

    The same was true in the case of the Nether Edge petition.

    It was the aforementioned decisions that resulted in Mr David Dillner (founder & co-Chair of Sheffield Tree Action Groups: STAG) taking a case to the High Court, in London. This is what led to the injunction that placed a city-wide three month ban on the felling of highway trees. As I understand it, Mr Dillner’s case primarily argues that there has not been adequate “consultation” about works under the Streets Ahead project that affect highway trees, prior to works being undertaken. There appears to be a secondary argument that an adequate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has not been undertaken prior to commencement of the £2.2bn project and its city-wide felling programme that permits the felling of up to 18,000 mature highway trees before 2018 – 50% of the highway tree population – during the Core Investment Period (CIP: the five year period to 2018, during which all highway resurfacing & lighting works are being done).

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-files-high-court-defence-to-tree-felling-injunction-1-7763448#ixzz44tv6bhol

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/updated-sheffield-tree-felling-can-legally-resume-but-council-pledge-not-to-1-7813277#ixzz44tvWqq00

    Both the aforementioned petitions were redacted by the Council, so do not appear in any Council publication in their entirety. To quote from page 181 of the SORT letter, dated 29th January, 2016:

    “Furthermore, at the meeting of full Council, a “Public Document Pack” was offered to all who attended (Sheffield City Council, 2015d, pp. 4-5). It was a hand-out that claimed to present the SORT petition (as detailed in this appendix) in its entirety. However, the Council had failed to include the references and the notation within the text that referred to them.

    The references validated the case presented – THEY WERE VITAL AND INTEGRAL TO THE PETITION. The Council’s decision to omit them may have stifled interest, skewed “debate” and voting, and have been severely damaging. THE REFERENCES PROVIDED A SOUND EVIDENCE BASE, IN SUPPORT OF ASSERTIONS MADE WITHIN THE TEXT. The references include peer reviewed research and widely recognised and accepted current best practice.”

    You can still view both petitions, in their entirety, using the following links:

    SAVE OUR ROADSIDE TREES (SORT):

    https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-streetsahead-sheffield-gov-uk-save-the-12-trees-on-rustlings-road-sheffield

    NETHER EDGE:

    https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-amey-councillor-fox-streetsahead-sheffield-gov-uk-save-the-netheredge-trees

    Even though these petitions have now been presented to Council, and largely ignored, they are STILL WORTH SIGNING, as growing numbers indicate continued, growing and widespread support for a responsible, SUSTAINABLE, STRATEGIC (planned, systematic & integrated) approach to tree population management, with greater accountability, openness, honesty and transparency. In practice, that should include an adequate COMMUNITY STRATEGY with a rolling programme for continued public education, consultation and participation.

    Both petitions prepared hand-outs that were DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources), prior to the meetings. The Nether Edge hand-out included the SORT letter to the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport (Cllr Fox), dated 29th January 2016. The intention, apparently, had been to encourage informed “debate” between Councillors at the meetings.

    A link to the SORT hand-out is provided above. The SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 can be found using these links:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/street-trees-3-month-ban-all-tree-felling-city

    http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/resources-and-links/

    The SORT letters provide a detailed account of all that has happened between May 2015 and February, 2016.

    THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 1st JULY 2015 can be accessed at the following link, under the sub-heading “Minutes of Previous Council Meeting”:

    http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=6016

    Questions about trees are on pages 8 & 9 of the PDF; a redacted version of the petition, followed by the Council’s response, can be found on pages 9 to 16.

    It was in response to the SORT petition that the Council to fulfil the Council’s five-year-old policy commitment – within “Sheffield’s Great Outdoors: Green and Open Space Strategy 2010-2030″ policy document – to initiate, develop, adopt and implement a tree strategy – a “Trees & Woodland Strategy” – as Council policy. It was also in response to the SORT petition that the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) set up a “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (HTAF), to which he appointed himself Chair.

    To quote from page 12 of the minutes from the meeting of full Council on 1st July, 2015:

    “COUNCILLOR FOX SUGGESTED THAT A HIGHWAY TREE FORUM WAS ESTABLISHED SO THAT people including residents, lobby groups and specialist groups could have discussions and THE COUNCIL WAS ABLE TO CONSULT PEOPLE ABOUT POLICY.”

    To quote from page 14 of the minutes from the meeting of full Council on 1st July, 2015:

    “Councillor Terry Fox, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, responded to matters which were raised during the debate and stated that the various issues raised would be looked at in more detail. He proposed that a Tree Forum was established to help DISCUSS and CONSULT with people in relation to highways trees.”

    In response to the Nether Edge petition hand-out that Amey cobbled together a management plan (of sorts) for highway trees. It is not a strategy, but they included the word “strategy” in the title. Even though the document is a strategy IN NAME ONLY, having it enabled the Council to claim they had a “strategy” for highway trees on the day the Nether Edge petition was presented (the day after publication). Presumably the document was quickly cobbled together so that the Streets Ahead team and Councillors didn’t appear to look utterly incompetent in light of the content of the petition hand-out. If that was the case, it is fair to say their tactic well and truly failed. If the Streets Ahead project was not a £2.2bn city-wide project, but a theoretical 1st year college assignment, it wouldn’t be quite so appalling.

    However, there can be no escaping the fact that in an e-mail, dated 5th APRIL, 2014, Cllr Jack Scott (as CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT, RECYCLING AND STREETSCENE [LABOUR]: one of Cllr Fox’s predecessors) stated:

    “WE DO NOT PRESENTLY HAVE A STRATEGY SOLELY FOR TREES. My view is that this wouldn’t be very helpful given they are an intrinsic part of the broader environment and ecology. However, I am confident that we have adopted very good practice in this area.”. “…In my view, current documents are sufficient.”

    Source: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/contribute-website?page=1

    On 19th February, 2016, Sheffield’s Labour Party stated:

    “We are open and transparent with the Sheffield public ensuring ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE and in the public domain”.

    To date, such assertions lack evidence. There has not been any indication of positive change. In fact, the Freedom of Information Act (mentioned above) is being used to withhold information, such as access to the 2006/2007 highway tree survey report that the Council claim to use to form policy and the Streets Ahead contract, and contact details necessary for reporting damage to highway trees, by contractors and vandals, DIRECTLY to Council Officers.

    Worst of all, on 7th August, 2015, SORT received a “REFUSAL NOTICE” from the SCC Information Management Officer. You can find it on pages 252-258 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 (the Nether Edge petition hand-out). It indicated that events such as Amey’s “street walks”; the HTAF meeting, or “Cllr Fox’s Independent Tree Panel” can be used as an excuse to avoid providing information requested.

    Quotes from the “Refusal Notice”, used as reason for withholding information requested:

    “Futile requests

    The Information Commissioner’s guidance notes:

    ‘THE ISSUE at hand individually affects the requester and HAS ALREADY BEEN CONCLUSIVELY RESOLVED by the authority OR SUBJECTED TO SOME FORM OF INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION.’ ”

    “Unreasonable persistence

    The Information Commissioner’s guidance notes:

    ‘The requester is attempting to reopen an issue which has already been COMPREHENSIVELY ADDRESSED by the public authority, or otherwise subjected to some form of INDEPENDENT SCRUTINY.’”

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, bearing in mind Cllr Dore’s comments at full Council and the content of the FOI/1599 correspondence associated with FOI/1601, the “Refusal Notice” also stated: “REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION HAVE BEEN CONVERTED TO FOI REQUESTS LEADING TO ADDITIONAL STAFF TIME”. Time and cost were, and continue to be, used as reasons to withhold information.

    ***** FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE ELECTIONS ON 5th MAY, 2016, SO WE ALL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE FAIRNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY BY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF LABOUR COUNCILLORS, IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF THEM DOING JUST AS THEY PLEASE REGARDLESS OF PUBLIC OPINION *****

    VOTE FOR A DIFFERENT PARTY, INCREASE FAIRNESS & IMPROVE DEMOCRACY. WITH LABOUR COUNCILLORS FORMING A MAJORITY OF 70% OF THE COUNCIL, THE LABOUR COUNCIL HAS AVOIDED OPENNESS, HONESTY, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. NOW IS THE TIME TO VOTE STRATEGICALLY TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF ALL CITIZENS.

  3. Technotronic says:

    HIGHWAY TREES: HTAF & STRATEGY

    It is now OVER EIGHT MONTHS since the first HTAF meeting (23rd July, 2015) at which citizens were assured by Cllr Fox and David Aspinall (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) that work on the tree strategy would start immediately.

    The latest HTAF meeting took place on 2nd SEPTEMBER, 2015. A third was scheduled to take place in November. Cllr Fox cancelled the November meeting without letting anyone know – not even the “experts” that he invited to be on the forum panel. The same happened again in January and March 2016. To date, nobody – not even the forum “experts” – know what Cllr Fox has planned with regard to the “bi-monthly” forum.

    A communication from Mr Aspinall, dated 9th December, 2015 stated that THE FORUM IS “LED BY THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM” (Amey: that explains why none of the matters raised by campaigners have been discussed or debated at the forum). Citizens had been led to believe a third HTAF meeting would happen in mid-March, 2016. It did not.

    On 23rd July, 2015 (the day of the first HTAF meeting), The Star newspaper reported:

    “The meeting at the town hall debated Sheffield’s approach to managing highway trees and its ‘six Ds’ policy: which is about removing trees which are dangerous, dead, dying, diseased, damaging the road or pavement, or causing an OBSTRUCTION to those with sight impairment or in a wheelchair – CLASSED AS ‘DISCRIMINATION’.”

    “DAVE ASPINALL, woodland manager at the council, said:

    ‘We will liaise with Amey and incorporate highway trees. WE ARE DOING A SCOPING OF THE DOCUMENT IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS AND WILL BE CONSULTING WITH THE PUBLIC AND AIMING FOR THE END OF MARCH FOR COMPLETION.’ ”

    Source: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/sheffield-trees-new-highway-tree-strategy-promised-at-packed-meeting-of-sheffield-forum-1-7375285

    On 2nd September, 2015, at the second HTAF meeting (possibly the final one, as there have been no others since), Cllr Fox stated:

    “…WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR TREE STRATEGY; we are working that; that will come to our next forum, and we will have a working part of that forum to have an input in to that. Erm, we will work through that, how that will be coming, because IN NOVEMBER, obviously, it’s the planting season as well, I think it’s only right that we have that discussion a) about the species we are planting, and b) the, err, tree strategy; so we will get to that. …Just to clarify, we’re not having the climate change discussion at the forum; what I’ve said – AT THE NEXT FORUM IS WE’LL BRING THE BLUE-PRINT that Dave Aspinall, and for those people that were at the first, is now tasked, AND WE WILL BRING A DRAFT, so that we can all comment on the city tree [sic].”

    On Wednesday 4th November, 2015, The Star newspaper reported:

    “Coun Fox said the draft tree strategy would be put to the next highway tree forum later this month.”

    Source: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/trees-new-independent-panel-to-look-at-sheffield-residents-views-1-7552269

    In a letter dated 18th NOVEMBER, 2015, David Caulfield (Director of Development Services: with overall responsibility for highway trees) stated:

    “I can confirm that the DEVELOPMENT OF A TREE AND WOODLAND STRATEGY IS UNDERWAY and progressing. THERE WILL BE A CONSULTATION PROCESS which is currently scheduled TO BEGIN AROUND THE END OF MARCH 2016…”

    In an e-mail dated 8th JANUARY, 2016, David Caulfield stated:

    “Consultation on the SCC Tree Strategy will begin in February with a view to PUBLISHING IN MAY”
    […]
    “THE NEXT MEETING OF THE TREE FORUM WILL PROBABLY BE IN MID MARCH AFTER THE CONSULTATION AND WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE OUTCOMES OF THE CONSULTATION.”

    Until 16th February, 2016, there was no further news about the tree strategy. On 16th February, The Star newspaper reported:

    “The council has been working on a framework for a new Trees and Woodland Strategy, which will set out how it looks after all 2.2m trees in the city.
    […]
    A full-day event will be held at the Town Hall on Friday, February 26 and
    MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WILL BE ABLE TO VIEW THE DRAFT STRATEGY and speak to members of staff between 10am and 7pm.
    […]
    Coun Sioned-Mair Richards, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that the issue of trees is very important to communities across our city, which is why we’re organising the event in order to share our plans. Highway trees are part of this strategy and will be informed by the recently-released Streets Ahead ‘5 year Tree Management Strategy.’ ”

    Source:
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/trees-new-tree-strategy-to-be-revealed-to-public-by-sheffield-council-1-7733628

    To date, no detail of a “consultation process” has been revealed. In reality, A THIRD HTAF MEETING HAS NOT BEEN HELD. A “drop-in” event was held at the Town Hall, on 26th February, 2016. No information was made available about the event prior to the event, other than the date, time & place. The public were invited to put suggestions on sticky notes and attach them to large sheets of paper. OFFICIALS PRESENT AT THE EVENT INFORMED THAT THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN STRICT INSTRUCTIONS NOT TO DISCUSS HIGHWAY TREES.

    In fact, at the drop-in event, there was no “blue-print” or draught strategy to comment on. All there was was a draught “framework” that SCC intended to use to help form a draught strategy. In reality, this was a list of headings and sub-headings. In some cases, there was a mention of what could go under those headings. For highway trees, it appeared that the Council intend to adopt the Amey management plan as the sub-strategy for highway trees, as is, without any opportunity for stakeholder (public) consultation. Indeed, in a communication dated 14th March, 2016, DAVID ASPINALL stated:

    “…the Streets Ahead 5 year highway tree management plan will directly inform and shape the highway trees part of the trees and woodlands strategy, that’s how we see it.”

    This WAS NOT made clear in the documentation provided at the “drop-in” event. It is VERY DEPRESSING, because it indicates that THE PUBLIC WILL CONTINUE TO BE BARRED FROM HAVING ANY INFLUENCE ON ANY ASPECT OF STRATEGY, POLICY AND DECISION-MAKING THAT AFFECTS HIGHWAY TREES. Furthermore, the Council’s decision to adopt the Amey management plan as a sub-strategy to inform the city-wide tree strategy is evidence of a TOTAL absence of understanding of what a tree strategy is, what should be in it and how and why it should be used. As all this was clearly set out in the aforementioned SORT communications, it is also evidence that SORT communications have been totally ignored by Councillors and Council officials, including David Aspinall. Indeed, it is now April 2016 and SORT HAVE STILL NOT RECEIVED A RESPONSE TO THE LETTER TO CLLR FOX DATED 29th JANUARY, 2016.

    Recently, Cllr Fox has been requesting that citizens provide evidence of inappropriate use of machinery in close proximity to trees and of non-compliance with good practice by contractors doing highway works in close proximity to trees. Again, this is further evidence that Cllr Fox has not even read the SORT letter that was addressed to him and subsequently distributed to every Councillor in the city.

    In short, THE COUNCIL & AMEY HAVE FAILED TO TAKE ANY POSITIVE STEPS TO ADEQUATELY ADDRESS ANY OF THE MATTERS RAISED in the SORT letters to Cllr Fox and, in most cases, the majority of matters raised have been and continue to be TOTALLY IGNORED, with no indication of any hope for positive change or meaningful discussion and community involvement.

    ***** FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE ELECTIONS ON 5th MAY, 2016, SO WE ALL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE FAIRNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY BY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF LABOUR COUNCILLORS, IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF THEM DOING JUST AS THEY PLEASE REGARDLESS OF PUBLIC OPINION *****

    VOTE FOR A DIFFERENT PARTY, INCREASE FAIRNESS & IMPROVE DEMOCRACY. WITH LABOUR COUNCILLORS FORMING A MAJORITY OF 70% OF THE COUNCIL, THE LABOUR COUNCIL HAS AVOIDED OPENNESS, HONESTY, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. NOW IS THE TIME TO VOTE STRATEGICALLY TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF ALL CITIZENS, AND HELP MINIMISE THE LIKELIHOOD OF UNNECESSARY ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION AND IRREVERSIBLE LOSS OF VALUABLE ECOSYSTEM SERVICE BENEFITS THAT MAINTAIN AND PROMOTE HEALTH & WELL-BEING.

  4. Technotronic says:

    TREES: STRATEGY; INFORMATION & THE ITP

    It cannot be stressed strongly enough that any citizen campaigning or hoping for positive change with regard to gaining a responsible, SUSTAINABLE approach to tree population management, with greater openness, transparency and accountability (one that complies with current good practice guidance, including nationally recognised and accepted standards), should be reading the SORT letters, and references therein, then feeding in suggestions to the Council Woodland managers tasked with draughting the strategy:

    1) David Aspinall (Woodlands Manager): Dave.Aspinall@sheffield.gov.uk
    2) Jerry Gunton (Woodlands Manager): Jerry.Gunton@sheffield.gov.uk

    CONTACT DETAILS:

    Countryside and Environment ,
    Place,
    Meersbrook Park,
    Brook Road,
    Sheffield,
    S8 9FL.

    TEL: 0114 2053787
    Mobile: 07966 372022

    Remember, the tree strategy is supposed to be completed next month – MAY 2016 (unlikely though, as a draught hadn’t even been started at the end of February).

    Helping shape the city tree strategy (the “tree & woodland strategy”), in particular the sub-strategy for highway trees and the sub-strategy for community involvement, really should be, and NEEDS to be, a top priority for ALL citizens that care about trees and the impacts their loss will have on the range, magnitude and value of valuable, ecosystem services that benefit communities (people) and neighbourhoods (the environment).

    The strategy really is THE easiest, quickest, best, most appropriate way of getting positive, lasting change. In accordance with current good practice, the strategy should be reviewed and revised from time to time. It should:

    “contain detailed policies and plans that are revised every five years (Britt, et al., 2008, p. 407; Van Wassenaer, et al., 2012), and at appropriate intervals, as necessary, to reflect changes in legislation, policies and current arboricultural and urban forestry “industry” guidance and recommendations”.
    (from page 6 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016)

    See SORT communications for further detail:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/street-trees-3-month-ban-all-tree-felling-city
    http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/resources-and-links/

    If highway trees are scheduled for felling on your street and you don’t agree, e-mail the Independent Tree Panel ( itpforsheffield@gmail.com ), and Cllr Fox ( Terry.Fox2@sheffield.gov.uk ). Send them links to, or copies of the SORT letters, dated 14th July, 2015 & 29th January, 2016. Ask that the letters be considered as evidence in favour of the long term retention of mature highway trees through the use of the nationally recognised, widely accepted standards and good practice guidance and recommendations detailed and referenced therein.

    Unless the High Court judge rules otherwise, SCC will only permit the residents that live on a street where felling is scheduled to present evidence to the independent tree panel (ITP). It should be noted that all the panel does is ADVISE Cllr Fox. Their advice is NOT binding. Cllr Fox appears to have set up the ITP as a means of refusing any further requests for information related to tree management (see the previous posting and pages 252-258 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 [the Nether Edge petition hand-out]). It also provides good PR as he is passing it off as “consultation” with the public.

    However, there are widely recognised and accepted hallmarks to an appropriate, adequate consultation process and they are absent from The Council’s Felling Questionnaire Survey and the ITP process. These hallmarks are hinted at in the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the ARHUS CONVENTION). They are detailed by the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION and are also found in works referenced in the SORT communications. In particular see the following:

    Forest Research: Social Research Group: Ambrose-Oji, B; Tabbush, P; Frost, B; Carter, C; Fielding, K, 2011. Public engagement in forestry: a toolbox for public engagement in forest and woodland planning. [Online] Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-5xmds8

    Arnstein, S. R., 1969. A ladder of citizen participation. [Online] Available at:
    http://lithgow-schmidt.dk/sherry-arnstein/ladder-of-citizen-participation_en.pdf
    http://geog.sdsu.edu/People/Pages/jankowski/public_html/web780/Arnstein_ladder_1969.pdf

    Also, for something extra, see:

    Elmendorf, W., 2008. The importance of trees and nature in community: a review of the relative literature. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 2008, Volume 34, p. 152–156.
    Available at:
    https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cluster=3534924700626452411&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

  5. Technotronic says:

    WAR & ENVIRONMENT

    The Star’s new editor has requested suggestions for how we can make our city more successful. You can help save lives, and protect and prevent further degradation in service provision, and environmental quality, by contacting your MP today and encouraging your MP to ‘back the Motion’ being debated in The House of Commons this Wednesday.

    For details, see:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/street-trees-3-month-ban-all-tree-felling-city

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