Sheffield Tree Campaign back in the national news in the Guardian

Read Patrick Barkham on the Nether Edge elm……

Patrick Barkham in the Guardian 5th August 2016

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6 Responses to Sheffield Tree Campaign back in the national news in the Guardian

  1. Technotronic says:

    A letter published by The Star on 8th August 2016

    “MANAGEMENT BY NUMBERS”: the unedited version

    “Apparently, every time the Council or Amey have something to say about the £2.2bn, city-wide, Streets Ahead highway maintenance PFI project, they mention the NUMBER of trees in the city and the NUMBER of trees planted. They then state that felling thousands of healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees is justified on the basis that one tree is planted for every tree felled, claiming that the work is necessary to avoid catastrophic losses over a short time period in the future – for the benefit of future generations.

    If you have not read the letters that the Save Our Roadside Trees citizen action group have published
    (see: http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/resources-and-links/ or
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/street-trees-3-month-ban-all-tree-felling-city ),
    you probably believe the Council’s reasoning to be fair and their acts and omissions to be justified. In both cases, you would be wrong.

    Managing a tree population for the benefit of communities (present or future) requires a responsible approach that has SUSTAINABILITY as a primary aim. “The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS): The governments’ approach to sustainable forest management” defines what a SUSTAINABLE approach must be. The standard applies to:

    “all UK forest types and management systems, INCLUDING THE COLLECTIVE TREE AND WOODLAND COVER IN URBAN AREAS.” It defines the term “forest” as “land under stands of trees with a canopy cover of at least 20%”.

    Until 3rd February, 2016, the Council & Amey had always stated that there are over 2 million trees in the city. As of 3rd Feb, a figure of 4m has been repeatedly quoted. This is important because, previously, the Council claimed that the UKFS did not apply to the highway tree population. However, the Council have previously claimed that Sheffield is “10.4% woodland by area”.

    Jeremy Gunton is the Council’s Tree Officer; one of two men responsible for drafting the long awaited, much delayed first tree strategy for the city – now 8 months overdue. He explained to me that the figures were “just estimates”. He informed that the 4m figure includes 2.2m trees managed by the Council, with the remainder being an estimate of the NUMBER of trees in private ownership.

    TREES OUTSIDE WOODLAND – SUCH AS HIGHWAY TREES – HAVE CONSIDERABLY LARGER CROWNS THAN TREES IN WOODLAND, SO THEY CONTRIBUTE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE TO CANOPY COVER.

    In light of the 10.4% claim, assuming it is reasonably accurate, it is reasonable to assume that THE CITY’S CANOPY COVER IS LIKELY TO BE OVER 30%. That means that Sheffield certainly does have an “urban forest” and that the highway tree population is a key component of the urban forest. The UKFS and its guidelines do apply to all tree populations within the urban forest and the UKFS requires that they be managed SUSTAINABLY, through:

    ‘the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands
    in a way, and at a rate, that MAINTAINS… their
    potential to fulfil, NOW and in the future,
    relevant ECOLOGICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FUNCTIONS,
    at local, national, and global levels..”

    These functions are fulfilled through the provision of a range of valuable ecosystem service benefits that canopy cover affords to the environment (neighbourhoods) and communities (including people). THE RANGE, MAGNITUDE AND VALUE OF THESE BENEFITS IS DEPENDENT ON THE SHAPE, SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION OF CANOPY COVER. The Streets Ahead plan, to fell up to half the population of highway trees (17,528 mature trees), will have REASONABLY FORESEEABLE, HIGHLY LIKELY, SIGNIFICANT, NEGATIVE IMPACTS. It is not a sustainable approach. Contrary to a range of current good practice guidance and recommendations, the Streets Ahead team has neglected to account for these benefits in cost:benefit analyses and risk assessments. Let’s hope they see sense before we experience further serious degradation in the quality of our environment.

    MANAGEMENT BY TREE NUMBERS IS INAPPROPRIATE AND CONTRARY TO CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE.”

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb)

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/534#comment-534

    ******************************************

    NB
    It should be noted that, in an e-mail addressed to Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT), dated 17th December, 2015, David Caulfield* stated**:

    “IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING ALTERNATIVE ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS ARE CURRENTLY BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER as part of a formal appeal. In very succinct terms, this is not a case of highway maintenance management by numbers. Clearly IF A SITE SPECIFIC OR BESPOKE SOLUTION CAN BE IDENTIFIED BY EITHER THE COUNCIL OR AMEY’S ARBORICULTURAL SURVEYORS OR HIGHWAY ENGINEERS WHICH CAN BE APPLIED WITH REASONABLE PRACTICABILITY TO RETAIN A TREE THEN WE WOULD LOOK TO DO SO.”

    * Mr Caulfield was SCC’s previous Director of Development Services: with overall responsibility for highway trees – he resigned. See:

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/listen-sheffield-council-sorry-after-highways-chief-s-views-on-tree-felling-recorded-1-7498357

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/trees-new-council-chief-to-lead-sheffield-felling-confirmed-after-secret-recording-apology-1-7530838

    ** The SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 [1] formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR in the city by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) – on 1st February, 2016 – to encourage informed “debate” at the meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016 ( about responsible, SUSTAINABLE tree population management) [2].

    1)
    The SORT Letters can be accessed via either of the following links:

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

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

    2)
    THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 3rd FEBRUARY, 2016 – when the Nether Edge tree action group presented their 6,295 plus signature petition – can be accessed at the following link, under the sub-heading “Minutes of Previous Council Meetings”:

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

    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.

  2. Technotronic says:

    FELLING: THE TRUTH

    SCC & Amey do not comply with current good practice guidance: inadequate ground preparation; inadequate protection; inadequate aftercare. Many of the young trees will fail to last to or beyond five years. SCC do not adequately supervise, monitor, audit or enforce compliance with good practice, so our valuable community assets are destroyed and our resources squandered.

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

    On the 17th June, 2016, the Council announced that
    “OVER 3,800” MATURE HIGHWAY TREES HAD BEEN FELLED
    as part of the £2.2bn, city-wide, “transformational” Streets Ahead “improvement” project that claims to deliver BETTER management.

    Source: http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/tree-injunction-decision/

    On 23/7/2015, Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) informed that…

    THERE WERE ONLY 1,200 TREES THAT WERE DEAD, DYING AND/OR DANGEROUS. “AMEY IDENTIFIED THOSE TREES AND ADDRESSED THOSE FIRST.”

    The independent highway tree survey that the Council had done in 2006/2007 which, to quote the SCC Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport: “helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract…” stated that Sheffield has 35,057 highway trees and that 25, 877 are mature.

    What SCC & Amey have neglected to communicate is that the same survey stated:

    ****“THERE ARE 25,000 TREES REQUIRING NO WORK AT PRESENT”.****

    THE 2006/2007 HIGHWAY TREE SURVEY ONLY RECOMMENDED 1,000 TREES FOR FELLING, with an additional 241 to be crown reduced or to be considered for felling.

    THE SURVEY REPORT ALSO ADVISED THAT THE COUNCIL HAVE A
    TREE STRATEGY:

    “A FORMAL DOCUMENT;
    RATIFIED BY THE COUNCIL;
    DETAILING POLICIES;

    DETAILING BEST PRACTISE [SIC];
    DETAILING PROCEDURES;
    OUTLINING THE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES”

    (No wonder the Streets Ahead team – the Council & Amey – have done their best to avoid publishing the survey report and making it available to the public! See pages 237 – 240 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 (which only received a response on 16th June, 2016, after over four months!).

    The project is highway MAINTENANCE project. Most of the larger trees can be MAINTANED by pruning.

    Legally, trees are part of the land. In this case, the highway. The £2.2bn is for HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE.

    Most trees are being felled because they are associated with damage to footways and kerbs, and because Amey haven’t got any alternative highway engineering specifications and don’t comply with National Joint Utility Group guidance, or British Standard 5837 (2012). Also, Amey have wrongly led the Council to believe that “mature” means trees are “nearing the end of their natural life”. The Council have wrongly interpreted this as meaning that mature trees are likely to become dangerous in the near future. In truth, mature trees are very susceptible to damage such as can be expected from Amey’s non-compliance with the aforementioned good practice guidance & recommendations.

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

  3. Technotronic says:

    SHEFFIELD’S FIRST TREE STRATEGY…We’re Still Waiting!

    “Campaigners fighting tree felling in Sheffield have been calling for a city-wide tree strategy – but documents reveal one was drafted 14 years ago. …A consultation document for Sheffield’s Tree and Woodland Strategy seen by The Star, which was printed in 2001*, said

    ‘SHEFFIELD IS BLESSED WITH ONE OF THE FINEST URBAN FORESTS IN THE COUNTRY’ and ‘trees affect everyone’s lives.’ […]

    The council did not say why the strategy had not been adopted.”

    Reference:
    Beardmore, E., 2015. ‘Still room for compromise’ over Sheffield trees debate – says former MP David Blunkett. [Online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/still-room-for-compromise-over-sheffield-trees-debate-says-former-mp-david-blunkett-1-7340615 [Accessed 4 July 2015].

    **************************************************************

    EXTRACTS FROM THE SORT LETTER DATED 29th January, 2016 (pages 101 & 102)
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/your-say/action-needs-to-be-taken-1-7964557

    The letter, in its entirety, also formed part of Nether Edge petition “hand-out” that was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR IN THE CITY – including Councillors Geoff Smith & Anne Murphy – by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) , prior to the meeting of full Council on 3rd February, 2016, in Sheffield’s Town Hall.

    The SORT letter can be accessed via either of these links:

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

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

    **************************************************************

    “…there is a different approach to managing trees and woodlands referred to as URBAN FORESTRY.
    […]
    The objective then becomes to manage this resource… TO GAIN MAXIMUM ADVANTAGE FROM IT, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PUBLIC. Planning and prioritisation of resources are also improved and tree management can be focused at a local neighbourhood level.”

    “1.7.1 Urban Forestry and SUSTAINABLE Management
    Aim: Provide a tree and woodland resource which is protected and enhanced and MANAGED SUSTAINABLY in accordance with the principles of urban forestry.”
    (Lewis, et al., 2001, p. 8)

    ********************************************************

    NOTE: The above quote comes from a Sheffield City Council document. On 26th February, 2016, in Sheffield Town Hall, JERRY GUNTON (Tree Manager within the Countryside & Environment department) – one of the two men tasked by the Council with draughting a tree strategy for the city (the other guy being DAVID ASPINALL, FIRST TASKED WITH DRAUGHTING A TREE STRATEGY OVER A YEAR AGO – ON JULY 23rd, 2015) – stated that ALL COUNCIL DEPARTMENTS ALREADY IMPLEMENT THE “PRINCIPLES OF URBAN FORESTRY” DETAILED WITHIN DOCUMENT. Of course, he was not telling the truth.

    ************************************************

    “SOUND POLICY AND MANAGEMENT INTERVENTIONS can often reverse ecosystem degradation AND ENHANCE THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ECOSYSTEMS TO HUMAN WELL-BEING…

    BETTER INFORMATION CANNOT GUARANTEE IMPROVED DECISIONS, BUT IT IS A PREREQUISITE FOR SOUND DECISION-MAKING”
    (Alcamo, et al., 2003, p. 1).

    *****************************************************

    EXTRACTS FROM THE FORMER (2001) TREE STRATEGY “CONSULTATION DOCUMENT”

    (The unadopted, ignored, forgotten strategy)

    1.7 STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND AIMS

    There are eight proposed Strategic Priorities which, together with associated aims, are fundamental to the success of the Strategy. These are:

    1.7.1 URBAN FORESTRY and SUSTAINABLE Management Aim:

    Provide a tree and woodland resource which is protected and enhanced and managed SUSTAINABLY in accordance with the principles of URBAN FORESTRY.

    1.7.2 Getting the most out of the Resource Aim:

    An URBAN FOREST which is productive and of maximum benefit to the public.

    1.7.3 Funding Aim:

    To increase funding, both internal and external, for implementation of the Strategy.

    1.7.4 Working in Partnership Aim:

    To create and strengthen partnerships for the future management of the URBAN FOREST and implementation of the Strategy aims.

    1.7.5 CONSULTATION AIMS:

    To provide all sections of the public with information on tree and woodland management projects and programmes and the opportunity to discuss and comment on proposals.

    1.7.6 Improving the Day-to-Day Management of the Resource
    Aim:

    As far as resources permit, to provide efficient services involved in the management and maintenance of the URBAN FOREST.

    1.7.7 Raising Awareness of Trees and Woodlands Aim:

    To have a WELL INFORMED PUBLIC AND POLITICIANS, with trees and woodlands given higher priority.

    1.7.8 Delivering Council Policies and Government Targets Aim:

    A Tree and Woodland Strategy which contributes to the delivery of other relevant Council strategies and policies and government targets.

    (Lewis, et al., 2001, pp. 7-8)

    REFERENCES:

    Alcamo, J., Ash, N., Butler, C. & Callicott, J., 2003. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems And Human Well-being: A Framework For Assessment. [Online] Available at: http://www.unep.org/maweb/en/Framework.aspx [Accessed 26 February 2012].

    Lewis, D., Sellwood, N. & Page, M., 2001. Sheffield’s Tree and Woodland Strategy • Consultation Document. Sheffield: Sheffield City Council.

  4. Technotronic says:

    ACT NOW

    If you disagree with Sheffield City Council’s reckless, negligent, unsustainable approach to tree population management, please sign the following petition, as Councillors understand voter numbers better than anything else (to the exclusion of almost everything else, in Sheffield):

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

    Growing numbers indicate growing, continued support and indicate the reach of media attention and wider support. One thing that Councillors really can’t stand is negative publicity. So, the more they get, the greater the likelihood of positive change and a strategic approach that will help initiate, encourage and support responsible, sustainable management that accords with current, nationally recognised and widely accepted good practice.

    The online SORT petition went live on 25th May, 2015. At 12:30am, on 1st July, 2015, the online petition had 4,693 signatures and was supplemented by >5,307 on paper. At the end of 2015, it had 6,047 signatures (supplemented by ~8,800 on paper). Currently, the petition has over 16,000 signatures.

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-trees-we-will-carry-on-our-fight-campaigners-vow-after-no-action-taken-on-10-000-strong-petition-1-7337321

    ******************************

    SCC & AMEY: IGNORANCE

    The Council and Amey have been ignoring people for well over a year: since at least May, 2015! (follow the link):

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/save-our-trees-have-your-say-1-7292659

  5. Technotronic says:

    A letter from Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT), dated 11th July, 2016, addressed to Simon Green* and David Caulfield**, sent on 11th July, 2016.

    *SCC’s Executive Director for the “Place” portfolio, which includes responsibility for the £2.2bn, city-wide, Streets Ahead highway maintenance project.

    **SCC’s Director Of Development Services, with overall responsibility for highway trees (as I understand it, Mr Caulfield resigned from SCC early last month).
    _______________________________________________________________

    “From: SORT
    Sent: 11 July 2016 18:03
    To: Simon.green@sheffield.gov.uk
    Subject: An Acceptable Sub-Strategy for Highway Trees

    The DRAFT tree strategy has been delayed several times already. It is NOW OVER SEVEN MONTHS LATE, as it was promised – by Jeremy Gunton and Cllr Fox, at the second meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (HTAF) – to be ready in time for presentation at the next HTAF meeting. The third HTAF meeting was scheduled to happen in NOVEMBER 2015, but was postponed, indefinitely (without the Council or the Streets Ahead team informing anyone), and a new date has yet to be announced.

    It is now OVER A YEAR since the council were tasked with drafting a tree strategy, by the previous Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), at the first HTAF meeting, on 23rd JULY, 2015. At that meeting, it was promised that work would begin on it straight away and that it would be ready for MARCH 2016. Months passed. All the while, the Council promised that the tree strategy was being worked on. We were promised that the DRAFT TREE STRATEGY would be presented at the “drop-in” event that took place at the Town Hall on 26th February, 2016. In fact, there was NO DRAFT STRATEGY to comment on. To make matters worse, Mr Gunton informed that work on a draft had not begun and that all Officers – including him – were under strict instructions not to discuss HIGHWAY TREES.

    In short, to date, there has not been any opportunity for citizens to comment on a draft strategy. Nor has the Council made any effort, whatsoever, to educate the public about the purpose of and necessity for a tree strategy. No attempt has been made to educate the public, or point them toward information where they can find out more, so that they (we) will be better able to offer meaningful, valuable, informed comment when consultations begin. We were promised that there would be an opportunity for consultation on a draft strategy. To date, that has NOT happened.

    FOR SEVEN MONTHS, THE COUNCIL NEGLECTED TO EVEN BEGIN WORK ON A DRAFT TREE STRATEGY AND WILFULLY MISLEAD AND LIED TO CITIZENS. In light of this, and given that we are now told that we cannot expect to see even a DRAFT tree strategy until OCTOBER 2016, it is reasonable that an explanation for the delay should be provided.

    On 22nd APRIL, 2016, in a communication to one citizen, it was stated:

    “The strategy won’t be drafted until EARLY JUNE at the earliest and an online questionnaire will be available after that probably in LATE JUNE.

    It will be online and promoted on our website and social media. The format will be like survey monkey but we haven’t designed it yet. Yes there will be lots of space to put your comments down!!”

    You see, a pattern has emerged: every time the Council reaches a deadline, it postpones the deadline by several more months. All the while, the £ 2.2bn, city-wide Streets Ahead, 25yr highway maintenance PFI presses on with its 5yr Core Investment Period resurfacing and lighting works, without a tree strategy to guide and inform policy and decisions.

    A SUB-STRATEGY FOR HIGHWAY TREES IS URGENTLY NEEDED, to:

    a) Help temper a risk-averse approach; help ensure that acts and omissions are based on sound evidence;

    b) Help ensure that appropriate, adequate, BALANCED assessments are undertaken by competent people, using nationally recognised, widely accepted methods and techniques;

    c) Help ensure that acts and omissions are PROPORTIONATE, defendable, and auditable;

    d) Help ensure that acts and omissions are not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions;

    e) Help ensure that adequate steps exist to ensure that there is adequate on-site supervision, monitoring and auditing of highway works (particularly those in close proximity to trees, and to trees), and

    f) Adequate enforcement of compliance with current good practice and policy commitments;

    g) Help foster, encourage and ensure a planned, SYSTEMATIC, INTEGRATED, SUSTAINABLE* approach to the management and care of Sheffield’s URBAN FOREST and the tree populations within various land-use categories that represent its component parts.

    *As defined by The UK Forestry Standard: The governments’ approach to sustainable forest management.

    The above list is not intended to be comprehensive. For greater detail, please see the SORT letters that you have received previously. They can also be accessed via the following link:

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

    In three weeks, it will be a year since SCC were tasked with producing a tree strategy in time for March, 2016.

    As SORT pointed out at the meeting of full council, on 1st July, 2015, there is a current commitment, by SCC, within the “Sheffield’s Great Outdoors: Green and Open Space Strategy 2010-2030″ policy document (on page 15), to produce a “Trees & Woodland Strategy”. This was acknowledged at the first HTAF meeting: presumably in an attempt to get those present to believe that SCC were genuinely committed to ensuring that it would fulfil its promise to have a tree strategy ready for March 2016?

    Remember, as late as 9th December, 2015, SORT was informed (via e-mail):

    “The draft Trees and Woodlands strategy will hopefully be ready for comment in MARCH next year.”

    Trust in the Council and in its credibility is at an all-time low. Openness honesty and transparency is long overdue. THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 3rd FEBRUARY, 2016 are available online. Here is an extract:

    “At the conclusion of the debate it was moved by Councillor Terry Fox, seconded by Councillor Julie Dore, that this Council:-
    […]
    d) COMMITS TO BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH THE SHEFFIELD PUBLIC ENSURING ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.”

    Citizens have yet to see Sheffield City Council make any attempt to honour that commitment. To date, there has been no change. Please note that we are now aware that THE 2006/2007 HIGHWAY TREE SURVEY that the Council commissioned Elliott Consultancy Ltd to undertake ONLY RECOMMENDED 1,000 TREES FOR FELLING, with an additional 241 to be crown reduced or to be considered for felling. The Survey stated that Sheffield has 35,057 highway trees and that 25, 877 are mature, and stated: “THERE ARE 25,000 TREES REQUIRING NO WORK AT PRESENT”. This is the independent highway tree survey that the previous SCC Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) said:

    “HELPS US INFORM OUR PRIORITIES FOR THE FORMATION OF THE CONTRACT…”

    He was referring to the Amey PFI Streets Ahead project.

    Amey are now felling our healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees. Most could be safely retained, long-term, through compliance with current good practice (TDAG guidance; BS 5837 [2012]; NJUG guidance & UKRLG guidance), as they are healthy and structurally sound. However, compliance with good practice is not adequately enforced (assuming someone is actually attempting to monitor and enforce) and we have learnt – as a result of a lengthy investigation by the Information Commissioner (case reference: FS50596905), completed on 19th FEBRUARY, 2016 – that neither the Council or the Streets Ahead team have commissioned or drafted any alternative highway engineering SPECIFICATIONS for footway, edging and drain construction, for consideration as a means of safely retaining mature highway trees, long term, prior to taking a decision to fell. Such specifications would be required to evidence compliance with current good practice and help show that felling genuinely is the “last resort” that the Streets Ahead team and Councillors claim it is. Over three and a half years in to a £2.2bn city-wide highway maintenance project that permits the felling of 50% of highway trees, this is reckless and wholly unacceptable.

    Please provide a well-reasoned, detailed explanation of why publication of a draft tree strategy has been repeatedly delayed AND please explain why it will take another month or three to complete. Please supply evidence to support each of your assertions. Please also provide a full, complete, current version of the draft strategy as it is now, at the current stage of development.

    I look forward to a timely, detailed response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Save Our Roadside Trees (Representing persons interested, currently numbering 16,000)”

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/530#comment-530

  6. Technotronic says:

    EXTRACTS FROM Cllr Fox’s Speech AT THE MEETING OF FULL COUNCIL ON 1st July, 2015:

    “And it’s also welcoming, Lord Mayor, that, as decision-makers in this Town Hall, we have our policies and procedures to scrutinise not by only by us in this place but scrutinised by the public…

    We had an independent survey done in 2006-2007 which helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract…

    THE PROCESS IS THAT AMEY MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL about which trees, in their expert opinion, should be removed by the highway, and in which categories. THE COUNCIL WILL THEN ASSESS EACH INDIVIDUAL TREE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEN MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER THAT TREE SHOULD BE FELLED OR NOT.

    Lord Mayor, sometimes WHEN WE plant and PLANE THE TOPS, we identify that we have root problems or not, is if we have not then we obviously do not take that tree. TAKING THE TREE IS THE LAST RESORT, Lord Mayor.

    THE SHEFFIELD HIGHWAY TREE STRATEGY CONSISTS OF THE SIX D’s: dangerous; dead, dying, diseased, damaging and discriminatory.

    By incident, Lord Mayor, if I may, on to Rustlings Road. There are over thirty trees on Rustlings Road. … Out of the eleven that have been identified to be felled, three have been noticed, and that ONCE WE DIG UP THE PAVEMENT, as I say, ONCE WE TAKE THAT PLANING OFF, IF THEY CAN BE RETAINED, THEY WILL.

    I have said on numerous occasions that ONCE AMEY DESIGNATE THE TREES THEY WANT TO FELL, THE COUNCIL GO AND DO THEIR INDEPENDENT CHECKS. Lord Mayor, ANY FELLING OF A TREE IS A LAST RESORT.

    Other, not only cities in England, in Britain, but in Europe are watching how we manage this, Lord Mayor, and I’ve to do that; we have to take everybody with us. As I say, I believe, Lord Mayor, because this is such a delicate and in-depth debate, I’ve suggested the Council will endorse an Highways Tree Forum, where, as we have already heard, so MANY BIG ISSUES NEED TO BE TALKED THROUGH and, also, we are we are not – we are not – able to drive, forget the pun. OUR POLICY IS STILL THAT WE WANT TO CROSS-CHECK THEM, not only with methods in this place, but WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS AND LOCAL CONSERVATION GROUPS.

    Lord Mayor, I’D LIKE TO CONGRATULATE THESE, ERR, CAMPAIGNERS, RESIDENTS AND PEOPLE who feel very strongly about our city, BECAUSE WITHOUT THEM, Lord Mayor, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DELIVER OUR PROJECTS together.”

    Source:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/177#comment-177

    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/update-on-sheffield-street-tree-issues/

    THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 1st JULY 2015 (when SORT presented their petition: 4,693 signatures online plus an additional >5,307 on paper), 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

    Councillor Fox (Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport – Labour) was given five minutes to respond to a three minute speech given by the Save Our Rustlings Trees (SORT) campaign (which actually took 3 minutes and forty-four seconds). Cllr Fox took 12 minutes and eleven seconds to deliver his 5 minute speech.

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