Important update from Deepa Shetty on behalf of STAG

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THE SHEFFIELD STREET TREES CAMPAIGN

Dear Supporters

Thank you for all your continued efforts, wherever you are!

It would be worth reading the following through a couple of times, to help assimilate important information.

Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT), as a Sheffield Tree Action Group (the first), continues to campaign alongside other very active groups across the city, e.g. in Nether Edge and Gleadless Valley. These STAG groups are campaigning citywide for Sheffield Council and Amey – the PFI contractor for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project – to implement current good practice and adequately enforce compliance with it.

As SORT have done for over eighteen months, we will continue to highlight and oppose bad practice, and campaign for sustainable management and care of Sheffield’s Urban Forest: in particular, its ~26,000 mature street trees, most of which face the axe because they are associated with disruption to kerbs and pavements and boundary walls, or because they require pruning on a cyclical basis.

Alternative highway engineering specifications for footway, kerb, drain or wall construction have not been commissioned or drafted for consideration as a means to retain mature trees, yet Sheffield City Council and Amey continue to assert that felling is a last resort. The PFI contract permits ~70% of mature street trees to be felled. That represents a catastrophic, loss of canopy cover and severe diminishment of associated, valuable, ecosystem service benefits that street trees afford to neighbourhoods and communities for each year of life.

ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT – LOOK AT THIS CLARIFICATION…………..

Prior to the Streets Ahead project, Elliott Consultancy Ltd completed “Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007”. Elliott recommended that SCC adopt a tree strategy and recommended 1,000 TREES FOR FELLING, with an additional 241 to be crown reduced or to be considered for felling. Of the 35,000 street trees, Elliott stated: “There are 25,000 trees requiring no work at present”. Elliott advised: “Approximately 10,000 trees needed some form of remedial treatment”. Later, Elliott added:

“Did I tell them they needed to remove half of their tree stock? No. Did I tell them 70% of trees were nearing the end of their life? No […] Did I even suggest that the 10,000 bits of tree work were urgent? No – you have seen the power point and it was clearly explained that 25,000 trees needed no work and of that, 10,000 almost half, were routine crown-lifting operations, another quarter being dead wooding operations, and others including the whole gamut of routine works etc. (I did suggest to them that there were a couple of hundred trees that could be retained, but their condition was such that they may merit replacement – this was the only pre-emptive felling issue that I recall mentioning)”.

At the meeting of full Council, in Sheffield Town Hall on 1st July 2015, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) indicated that Elliott’s recommendations formed the basis for the Amey PFI contract for the Streets Ahead project. The Cabinet Member stated: “We had an independent survey done in 2006-2007 which helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract”. However, Amey have adopted a “6Ds” approach: any tree that is classed as Dangerous, Dead, Dying, Diseased, Damaging, or causing Discrimination (“Causing severe obstruction to pavements”) can be felled. Even the most minor disruption to pavements, kerbs or walls is used to justify felling. The way these criteria are currently being used, means that most mature street trees are likely to be felled during the Amey PFI contract.

To date, over 4,000 street trees have been felled (most were HEALTHY).

In Nether Edge and elsewhere, trees have also been scheduled for felling on the basis that strimmers, mowers or machinery used in close proximity to trees during resurfacing works, such as diggers and the planing machines, will cause damage to roots, of such severity that tree health and structural integrity will be compromised to such extent, that the only reasonable option is to fell affected trees. Such damage is avoidable, in most instances, by compliance with current, nationally recognised good practice guidance and recommendations, many of which the Streets Ahead team claim they aim to “build on” and wrongly claim to comply with.

With regard to frequent, continued non-compliance with current good practice, in a communication dated 8th December 2015, Simon Green (Executive Director of Sheffield City Council’s Place Management Team)* stated:

“In terms of BS 5837 / NJUG, as has been advised in numerous pieces of correspondence to campaign group activists, we are aware of a small number of isolated incidents where street lighting subcontractors have operated in breach of NJUG guidance. This has been comprehensively addressed by the Council’s client technical team, including a mandatory retraining of the entire Amey workforce and supply chain of subcontractors for the entire project to ensure that this does not occur again.”

*Email: simon.green@sheffield.gov.uk

If re-training has occurred, it has been ineffective, as there continue to be frequent occurrences of non-compliance with current good practice that result in irreversible damage to valuable trees. Currently, SORT are not aware that Sheffield City Council or Amey have any steps in place to ensure timely intervention to stop damaging / harmful acts that have been identified, or to safeguard against unnecessary, avoidable damage, loss and environmental degradation. Remember, the Government has agreed to adopt & 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)”.

In October 2016, Freedom of Information request (FOI/2671) response (from SCC’s Resources Business Support team) stated:

“The Streets Ahead contract is based on performance self-monitoring by Amey. However, in order to ensure compliance with the contract, the Council undertakes a 100% audit check of tree replacement proposals and a 10% sample check of tree maintenance works.”

In a separate communication, later the same month, Darren Butt (the Amey Operations Director), stated:

“With regards to monitoring of our activities and improvements, the Streets Ahead Highways Maintenance contract is based on the principle of performance self-monitoring and is robustly self-monitored by Amey, this does not however mean that the works are not independently scrutinised and regulated. Sheffield City Council carries out such sample checks as are necessary to validate the Amey self-monitoring regime. There are various performance measures and targets included in the Highway Maintenance contract…”

Mr Butt is responsible for all tree work, and ALL highway MAINTENANCE once core investment works have been done (new lighting and resurfacing, etc). Please note that Amey’s Graeme Symonds is the Core Investment Project Director. As such, he is responsible for all NEW resurfacing, drainage and lighting works – the works that damage trees. At the Amey roadshow in Heeley, in November 2015, Mr Butt informed that both he and Mr Symonds ensure that both their teams work in cooperation, to minimise the likelihood of acts harmful to trees. However, to date, there has been an absence of any evidence to support the claim.

In September, 2016, at the Amey roadshow on Psalter Lane, Amey’s Area Stewards (PR people) informed that Sheffield City Council’s Highways PFI Client Team is responsible for the provision of adequate on-site supervision, monitoring and auditing of highway works in close proximity to trees, and for adequate enforcement of compliance with good practice and policy commitments. The Stewards informed that if you fill out a form at a roadshow event, to ask a question, complain, or request information, it is sent to the Council’s Highways PFI Client Team. The team is responsible for providing technical expertise for the Streets Ahead project and is led by David Needham. Contact details are as follows:

E-mail: David.Needham@sheffield.gov.uk

E-mail: highwayspficlientteam@sheffield.gov.uk

Tel: 0114 205 7421 (preferably before 4:00pm)

ADDRESS:
5th Floor,
Howden House,
1 Union Street
Sheffield
S1 2SH.

It is thought that David Wain, as Leader of the Council’s Environmental Maintenance Technical Team, is part of the Highways PFI Client Team. He is the Council’s Environmental Technical Officer, within the Highways Maintenance Division, “responsible for highway trees”; he has also attended a “street walk” and has been a panel “expert” at the two “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum meetings that have occurred to date (the latest of which was on 2nd September, 2015). Mr Wain can be contacted via E-mail: David.Wain@sheffield.gov.uk

In August, 2016, the SCC Cabinet Member for the Environment (Cllr Bryan Lodge) informed that Sheffield City Council’s Highways PFI Client Team do not have any arboriculturists of their own, as all SCC arboriculturists have left and are now employed by Amey. However, the FOI/2671 request asked:

“How many competent arboriculturists are directly employed by Sheffield City Council to oversee Tree maintenance in the Streets Ahead project?”

The response:
“Sheffield City Council directly employs 5 staff with arboricultural qualifications on the Streets Ahead contract.”

The response does not necessarily indicate whether or not the “staff with arboricultural qualifications” are in fact arboriculturists, or whether or not they are competent. Both terms are defined within the British Standards that Sheffield City Council and Amey claim to comply with and aim to “build on” (BS 5837:2012 & BS 3998:2010)

“3.3 arboriculturist
Person who has, through relevant education, training and experience, gained expertise in the field of trees in relation to construction

3.4 competent person
Person who has training and experience relevant to the matter being addressed and an understanding of the requirements of the particular task being approached

NOTE A competent person is expected to be able to advise on the best means by which the recommendations of this British Standard may be implemented.”
(The British Standards Institution, 2012, p. 3)

After a wait of over fourteen months, we now have an opportunity to help shape what we hope will be Sheffield’s first tree strategy. A draft is currently online for public consultation, with a response deadline for the end of November, 2016. We are greatly inspired by the United Nations’ recent publication of urban forestry guidance (FAO Forestry Paper 178), aimed at decision-makers, and, with continued support from the Woodland Trust and a range of leading green space professionals, particularly leading figures from the world of arboriculture, we remain hopeful for a more enlightened, modern approach to tree population management by Sheffield City Council and its strategic partners.

Hopefully, a planned, systematic, integrated approach that recognises the value of trees and associated benefits, promotes and enforces compliance with current good practice, and ensures that policy and decisions are: “Soundly based on available evidence, and not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions” (The National Tree Safety Group, 2011, p. 25).

The UN good practice guidance (FAO Forestry Paper 178) can be accessed here:  http://www.fao.org/forestry/news/92439/en/

To find out more, follow these links:
http://bit.ly/2dGxO01

https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

“The Sheffield street tree population is owned by the people of Sheffield and the council are just custodians of these trees” ~ Moray Simpson (Arboriculturist and former Chairman of Municipal Tree Officer’s Association).

Thank you for all your ongoing help and support everybody. Please comment on Sheffield’s draft tree strategy ASAP – time is short!

AFOOFA
SORT

References:

1. The British Standards Institution, 2012. British Standard 5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction – Recommendations”.
London: BSI Standards Ltd.

2. The National Tree Safety Group, 2011. Common Sense Risk Management of Trees: Guidance on trees and public safety in the UK for owners, managers and advisers. Forestry Commission Stock Code: FCMS024 ed. Edinburgh: Forestry Commission. Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCMS024.pdf/$FILE/FCMS024.pdf

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30 Responses to Important update from Deepa Shetty on behalf of STAG

  1. Technotronic says:

    ELLIOTT Highway Tree Survey Power Point presentation

    The Power Point presentation (slideshow) can be accessed in PDF format, here:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

    Scroll down to the file attachments, just before the comments start. 😉

    Also, previously, on 16th April, 2013, The Star newspaper reported:

    “The council said it would not replace trees where planting a new tree would be cheaper than pruning the existing species.”
    (The Star, 2013)

    Reference:
    The Star, 2013. Sheffield council all set to axe 1,250 roadside trees. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-all-set-to-axe-1-250-roadside-trees-1-5587392 [Accessed 16 April 2015].

    • Technotronic says:

      THE UN SUPPORT URBAN FORESTRY IN SHEFFIELD

      “Guidelines on Urban and Peri-urban Forestry explains how cities can maximize the contribution of urban forests to addressing local and global sustainable development challenges, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security, and human health and well-being.”
      […]

      ‘City planners and other urban decision-makers are often unaware of the crucial economic, social and environmental benefits that urban forests can provide, which means they are spending their budgets elsewhere,’ said FAO Forestry Officer Simone Borelli, one of the authors of the book. ‘In this publication we show them why MAKING URBAN FORESTS A PRIORITY AND “TURNING GREY TO GREEN” IS A WISE INVESTMENT THAT WILL IMPROVE MANY ASPECTS OF CITIZENS’ LIVES.’
      […]

      “WHAT IS AN URBAN FOREST?
      […]
      URBAN FORESTS CAN BE DEFINED AS NETWORKS OR SYSTEMS COMPRISING ALL WOODLANDS, GROUPS OF TREES, AND INDIVIDUAL TREES LOCATED IN URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AREAS; THEY INCLUDE, therefore, forests, STREET TREES, trees in parks and gardens, and trees in derelict corners. URBAN FORESTS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE, bridging rural and urban areas and ameliorating a city’s environmental footprint.
      […]

      Urban and peri-urban forestry (UPF) is THE PRACTICE OF MANAGING URBAN FORESTS TO ENSURE THEIR OPTIMAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PHYSIOLOGICAL, SOCIOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING OF URBAN SOCIETIES.

      UPF IS AN INTEGRATED, INTERDISCIPLINARY, PARTICIPATORY AND STRATEGIC APPROACH TO PLANNING AND MANAGING FORESTS AND TREES IN AND AROUND CITIES.

      It involves the assessment, planning, planting, maintenance, PRESERVATION and monitoring of urban forests, and it can operate AT SCALES RANGING FROM SINGLE TREES TO LANDSCAPES.
      […]

      At the community scale, UPF EMPHASIZES THE ENGAGEMENT OF URBAN CITIZENS IN THE STEWARDSHIP OF PRIVATE AND PUBLIC TREES, INCLUDING BY EDUCATING THEM on the value and benefits of trees and forests AND SUPPORTING their full ownership and responsibility for the environment around them.

      WHY URBAN FORESTS?

      Forests in and around cities face many threats, such as those posed by unregulated urban development and a LACK OF INVESTMENT AND MANAGEMENT. Although it has been demonstrated that coherent investment in the establishment, protection and restoration of URBAN FORESTS CAN HELP CREATE A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, such forests are often appreciated more for their aesthetic value than for their ecosystem functions.

      Mayors, planners and other urban DECISION-MAKERS ARE OFTEN UNAWARE OF THE CRUCIAL ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS THAT URBAN FORESTS CAN PROVIDE.”
      (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Salbitano, F. et al., 2016, p. 2)

      Reference:
      Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2016. FAO Forestry Paper 178: Guidelines on urban and peri-urban forestry. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
      Available online at:
      http://www.fao.org/forestry/news/92439/en/

  2. Technotronic says:

    THE COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO RETAIN MATURE HIGHWAY TREES

    “In a letter dated 18th November, 2015 (see Appendix 7), David Caulfield (Director of Development Services: with overall responsibility for highway trees) stated:

    ‘…REMOVAL OF ANY HIGHWAY TREE IS ALWAYS THE LAST RESORT…’

    In an e-mail dated 17th December, 2015 (see Appendix 7), Mr Caulfield stated:

    ‘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. …We like to think that as THE UK’S LARGEST HIGHWAYS PFI PROJECT…’ ”
    (From page 44)

    Steve Robinson gave a presentation at the second HTAF 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. IT NOW CAN’T HAVE THAT DEFENCE BECAUSE IT HAS FUNDING OF £2.2BN ON THE PFI PROJECT. So we must take in to account the consideration of the Equalities [sic] Act.
    (From page 45)

    In an e-mail (Ref: 101002355831) dated 16th December, 2015 (see Appendix 11), Jeremy Willis (Amey) stated:

    “Unlike many other large UK cities, Sheffield is in a unique position and HAS THE FUNDING through the Streets Ahead project to upgrade its roads, pavements, street lights and streetscene. This also includes BETTER MAINTENANCE AND MANAGEMENT of the street trees.”
    ONE OF THE AIMS OF THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT IS TO RETAIN HEALTHY TREES WHEREVER POSSIBLE…

    A NEW TREE CAN NEVER REPLACE A MATURE SPECIMEN…
    Please be assured that we are COMMITTED TO RETAINING, MAINTAINING and investing in the city’s tree stock for future generations”
    (From page 103)

    In a communication dated 7th July, 2015, the Department for Transport stated (see Appendix 3):

    “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.”
    (From page 46)

    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.

    Erm, THOSE TREE PEOPLE MAKE NO ACCOUNT OF PROFIT OR COST, so those factors do not come in to play. These are tree people who used to work for the Council. They have the same mind-set, now that THEY HAVE THEIR BUDGET TO LOOK AFTER THEIR TREES.

    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.”
    (From pages 42 & 43)

    In addition…

    On 23rd October, 2015, The Star reported:
    “Cllr Terry Fox, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said:

    ‘We have always said that WHERE IT IS POSSIBLE TO RETAIN A TREE, THIS IS WHAT WE WILL WORK HARD TO DO… we are serious about that commitment.’”

    On 20th June, 2016, The Star reported:

    “Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment, said:

    ‘IF WE CAN USE PRACTICABLE AND AFFORDABLE ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS TO RETAIN TREES, THEN WE WILL LOOK TO DO THAT.’”

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

    The above quotes come from the SORT Letter To The Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29th January, 2016 was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) – prior to the meeting of full council on 3rd February, 2016, as part of the Nether Edge Sheffield Tree Action Group petition hand-out.

    See: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

  3. Technotronic says:

    THE COUNCIL AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM HAVE EXISTING POLICY COMMITMENTS, TO COMPLY WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE. See below.

    In an e-mail (Ref: 101002358788) dated 8th January, 2016 (Appendix 19), sent in response to a complaint made on 9th December, 2015 (Appendix 19), STREETS AHEAD Customer Services stated:

    “THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT AIMS TO WORK TO BEST INDUSTRY PRACTISE AND GUIDELINES in all working sectors, including when working in the vicinity of highway trees.”

    “In fact, we intend to expand the concept with a series of workshops starting in January 2016 looking at improving our processes and BUILDING ON industry good practise.”

    On 8th July, 2015, STREETS AHEAD team stated:

    “all works will be supervised by a qualified arboriculturalist [sic] TO ENSURE NO TREE ROOT DAMAGE OCCURS as part of our works. The Streets Ahead team work to National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) regulations AND RELEVANT BRITISH STANDARDS for construction works in the vicinity of trees”.

    On 8th December, 2015, Cllr TERRY FOX (Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport) stated:

    “I can confirm that Amey’s ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT exists TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH BOTH BS 5837 AND NJUG STANDARDS.”

    In a communication dated 8th January, 2016, with regard to works to and in close proximity to highway trees, Mr DAVID CAULFIELD (SCC Executive Director: see The Star report: “TREES: New council chief to lead Sheffield felling confirmed after secret recording apology”) responded to the question: “Can you provide evidence of the use of National BEST Practice?”. His response was:

    “YES, WE CAN EVIDENCE USE OF NBP ACROSS THE WHOLE CONTRACT”

    The response to Freedom of Information request FOI / 574, dated 7th August, 2015 (“Please provide a copy of the current national highway maintenance standards, guidance and recommendations that the Streets Ahead project claim to be using and working in accordance with; please also provide an online link to these standards.”), stated:

    “Highways maintenance standards and REQUIREMENTS ARE DICTATED BY A NUMBER OF PIECES OF BOTH INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICE (for example the Well-Maintained Highways Code of Practice for highway maintenance management – http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/UKRLG-and-boards/uk-roads-board/wellmaintained-highways.cfm ).

  4. Technotronic says:

    GOOD PRACTICE

    Good practice guidance and recommendations are listed here:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/627#comment-627

    ***
    Also, see the following posts:

    “STRATEGY: COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & CONSULTATION”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/644#comment-644

    ***
    “EXTRACTS FROM WELL-MAINTAINED HIGHWAYS – CODE OF PRACTICE”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/630#comment-630

    ***
    “EXTRACTS FROM WELL-LIT HIGHWAYS – TRACKED CHANGES”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/631#comment-631

    ***
    “EXTRACTS FROM British Standard 5837” (TREES IN RELATION TO DESIGN, DEMOLITION AND CONSTRUCTION – RECOMMENDATIONS):

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/632#comment-632

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/634#comment-634

    ***
    “ROOT PROTECTION”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/633#comment-633

    ***
    “RISK & LIABILITY”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/635#comment-635

    The National Tree Safety Group, 2011. Common Sense Risk Management of Trees: Guidance on trees and public safety in the UK for owners, managers and advisers.
    Forestry Commission Stock Code: FCMS024

    http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/publications.nsf/searchpub/?SearchView&Query=(FCMS024)&SearchOrder=4&SearchMax=0&SearchWV=TRUE&SearchThesaurus=TRUE

    ***
    The Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG)Recommendations:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/637#comment-637

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/638#comment-638

    ***
    “STRATEGY: FORESTRY COMMISSION ADVICE”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/639#comment-639

    ***
    “STRATEGY: BRITISH STANDARD 8545”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/641#comment-641

    ***
    “STRATEGY: ADVICE FROM THE GOVERNMENT’S TREES IN TOWNS 2 REPORT”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/642#comment-642

    ***
    “STRATEGY: TREES IN TOWNS 2 ‘KEY RECOMMENDATIONS'”:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/642#comment-642

    ***
    “SUSTAINABLE TREE POPULATION MANAGEMENT”:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/623#comment-623

    ***
    In addition, see this letter to The Star:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/617#comment-617

    ***
    THE LATEST GUIDANCE FROM THE UNITED NATIONS (UN):

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Salbitano, F; Borelli, S; Conigliaro, M; Chen, Y, 2016. FAO Forestry Paper 178:
    Guidelines on urban and peri-urban forestry. (2016)
    Available at:
    http://www.fao.org/forestry/news/92439/en/

  5. Technotronic says:

    GUIDANCE FROM THE LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE

    Extracts detailing the importance of the urban forest, including its STREET TREES, to green infrastructure.

    “Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers

    Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers, produced by the Trees and Design Action Group, sets out 12 action-orientated principles for the 21st century URBAN FOREST. Trees are increasingly viewed as essential alleviators of many of the adverse effects of urbanisation.

    STORM-WATER MANAGEMENT, urban cooling and microclimate control, air-quality improvement, visual amenity and carbon sequestration can all be addressed through better management of existing trees and the promotion of new planting.

    The guide is aimed at all those whose actions and decisions may affect, both directly and indirectly, the management and planting of urban trees. It provides examples of good practice, explanations of delivery mechanisms and links to further references. It sets out the importance of having a comprehensive tree strategy and understanding the tree resource of a particular area and how MULTIPLE BENEFITS ARE DERIVED FROM TREES.

    This publication is particularly relevant for the management of trees in existing urban areas. Where space is at a premium and the built environment is dominant, trees provide SIGNIFICANT NATURAL ASSETS that can be retrofitted into streets and other available spaces with relatively little disturbance to surrounding activities.

    In addition, the ECOSYSTEM SERVICES THAT THESE TREES PROVIDE WILL INCREASE AS THEY GROW. Urban tree planting therefore provides a significant opportunity to incorporate green infrastructure benefits into both existing and new built up areas.”

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/Landscape%20Institute_Green%20Infrastructure%20Position%20Statement_2013_0.pdf

    In a letter to a lead Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) campaigner, dated 23rd March 2015, David Wain – leader of SCC’s Environmental Maintenance Technical Team – stated:

    http://www.tdag.org.uk is a useful resource for learning more about sustainable and sensible tree design and planting selection, and one of the arboriculturalists [sic] working on the Sheffield Streets Ahead project was actually involved in authoring much of the content, so WE DO AGREE STRONGLY WITH THE PRINCIPLES OUTLINED WITHIN THE DOCUMENTATION.’ ”

    SOURCE:

    The SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016* 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).

    *The SORT Letters can be accessed via the following link:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

  6. Technotronic says:

    Cllr Bramall: MASTER OF DECEIT

    At a meeting of full Council, on 1st July 2015, when SORT tree action group presented their presented their petition (4,693 signatures online plus over 5,307 on paper), The Deputy Leader of the Council (Cllr Leigh Bramall) stated [1]:

    “Just before Streets Ahead, we had an independent survey done, erm, assessing all the trees across Sheffield, and it found that 70% were nearing the end of their life and 10,000 needed urgent attention. Now, only 5% have been done. What that means is that if you don’t address that, you actually face a catastrophic decline in the number of trees in 10 or 20 years’ time.”

    At a meeting of full Council, on 3rd FEBRUARY, 2016, when the Nether Edge tree action group presented their 6,295 plus signature petition, Cllr Bramall stated:

    “In 2006/7 an independent survey assessed the city’s highway tree stock. This survey found that over 75% of the city’s 36,000 trees were nearing the end of their natural life and only 5% of the trees were classed as being in the ‘young’ age group.”

    These exact words later appeared in a document that SCC presented to the High Court of Justice (during R [Dillner] v Sheffield CC and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd), under the heading: “Streets Ahead Approach to decision making regarding highway tree removal and replacement”.

    In a news update [2], published on 8th November 2016, the Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) group provided a quote from Mr Elliott of Elliott Consultancy Ltd – the consultancy that undertook the independent survey that was referred to:

    “Did I tell them they needed to remove half of their tree stock? no.
    Did I tell them that 70% of the trees were nearing the end of their life? no […]
    Did I even suggest that the 10,000 bits of tree work were ‘urgent’? no – (you have seen the pp and it was clearly explained that 25,000 trees needed no work, and of that 10,000 almost half were routine crown-lifting operations, another quarter being deadwooding operations, and others including the whole gamut of routine works etc. (i did suggest to them that there were a couple of hundred trees that could be retained but their condition was such that they may merit replacement – this was the only pre-emptive felling issue that I recall mentioning).”

    You can access the document referred to by Elliott (the “pp”), here: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/Elliott_SCC_Highway%20Tree%20Survey%202006-07.pdf

    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 [3]. 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.”

    CAN CLLR BRAMALL BE TRUSTED? I think not.

    REFERENCES:

    1) The SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016 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)

    The SORT Letter can be accessed via the following link:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/SORT%20LETTER%20TO%20THE%20CABINET%20MEMBER%20FOR%20ENVIRONMENT%20AND%20TRANSPORT_29th%20January%2C%202016_v51.6_Corrected_1.pdf

    2) https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-streetsahead-sheffield-gov-uk-save-the-12-trees-on-rustlings-road-sheffield/u/18390599
    &
    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/important-update-from-deepa-shetty-on-behalf-of-stag/

    3) https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/529#comment-529

    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.

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

    SOURCE:

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/business/blades-owner-reveals-200m-plans-for-new-sheffield-shopping-centre-by-bus-station-1-8238377#comments-area

  7. Technotronic says:

    FELLING WITHOUT NOTICE:
    Independent Tree Panel Ignored!

    A LETTER TO HUFFINGTON POST, FOLLOWING THE FELLING OF HEALYHY, STRUCTURALLY SOUND MATURE HIGHWAY TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD THIS MORNING (@2am on 17th November 2016)

    This post is hosted on the Huffington Post’s Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

    “We live in a time of crisis. Donald Trump has just been elected in the US, and is planning to institute a register for Muslims and build a wall on the Mexican border. Hate crimes are on the rise in the US and the UK. The UK’s Tory government has become so xenophobic that even foreign doctors are considered undesirable.

    But, you might think, local Labour councils would be on the side of the good—fighting authoritarianism and working to preserve what they can of the quality of life in their cities.
    This morning, however, Sheffield’s Labour council showed us beyond a shadow of a doubt how they feel about the authoritarianism on the rise round the world. Overruling their own hand-picked Independent Tree Panels, they decided to descend on Rustlings Road, a quiet residential street, in the wee hours of the morning with 22 police officers, to fell 8 trees (6 of which the tree panels said should be saved). Residents were awakened in the middle of the night by police demanding that they move their cars. Three were arrested, including two pensioners. Police in the middle of the night, knocking on doors, dragging people out of bed? Arresting elderly law-abiding citizens? This is not the lovely left-wing city I thought I was moving to back in 1995.

    What could possibly be the reason for this stunning authoritarian move? The reason is that Sheffield Council made a contract with a private provider, Amey, to resurface the streets and pavements. Amey made a decision to fell huge numbers of fully mature, healthy trees, in order to simplify the task. When residents protested peacefully, the council surveyed each street to get residents’ opinion on felling. (They only surveyed those who live on the streets with trees earmarked for felling, ignoring the fact that street trees are a common resource for all who live a city.) This survey was deeply flawed—it arrived in brown paper envelopes addressed to “resident” (universal indicator of junk mail), and it completely ignored the rather basic principle of One Person One Vote by only allowing one vote per household. Those streets where, despite these barriers to participation, 50% or more objected to the felling, were referred to an Independent Tree Panel (hand-picked experts, appointed by the council). Rustlings was one of these, with overhwelming opposition to felling. Their residents, like the rest of us, have nervously awaited tree panel panel recommendations. We learned their recommendation today, only after the felling. (Although the recommendation was dated 22 July, it was only published this morning at 4.30.) The council’s hand-picked experts recommended against felling 6 of the 8 trees. And yet the council was so determined to destroy them anyway that they engaged in a massive police action against law-abiding citizens in the middle of the night.

    We live in scary times. Authoritarianism and contempt for experts are on the rise everywhere
    I can’t believe it’s already come to this: I’m expecting to be awakened by a knock on the door from the police. And this is from our Labour Council.”

    Jennifer Saul
    Professor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield (Dual US/UK Citizen)

    Source:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/582d9998e4b0eaa5f14d40ac?timestamp=1479384418011

    *****
    Also, See:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3945076/Pensioners-arrested-dawn-tree-felling-stand-off.html

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/police-advice-led-to-early-morning-tree-felling-in-sheffield-1-8243179

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-south-yorkshire-38005633

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/your-say/what-s-the-worst-that-could-happen-1-8240923

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/sheffield-city-council-scc-upper-don-flood-consultation

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

    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/youre-nicked-my-son-street-tree-campaigners-arrested/

    • Technotronic says:

      THE SECRET £2.2bn AMEY PFI CONTRACT

      Extracts From Dave Caulfield’s* Witness Statement, to The High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court), Dated 29th February, 2016
      (case ref: CO/613/2016),

      *SCC’s Director of Development Services: “responsible for highway related-matters”

      10.
      IN 2008 THE COUNCIL’S CABINET FORMALLY APPROVED THE OUTSOURCING OF ITS HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE SERVICE following the Department for Transport’s (‘DfT’) approval of an Outline Business Case awarding Sheffield pathfinder status as part of its highway maintenance PFI programme.

      11.
      The pathfinder STATUS GAVE THE COUNCIL THE ABILITY TO DETERMINE THE FULL SCOPE OF THE OUTSOURCED HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE SERVICE. The Council’s Cabinet approved the procurement of a ‘fence to fence’ service contract to be competitively tendered in the PFI highwaays industry. THE COUNCIL WENT OUT TO THE MARKET IN APRIL 2009 TO PROCURE A SERVICE PROVIDER who could provide a fully integrated highway maintenance service, bringing innovation and highway maintenance expertise to the city.

      12.
      Following the detailed bid process, including regular reviews by the DfT and independent auditors, THE COUNCIL SECURED THE NECESSARY PFI CREDITS IN MARCH 2009 AND COMMENCED A PROCUREMENT PROCESS under the Competative Dialogue procedure. After a detailed procurement process, AMEY WERE APPOINTED IN MARCH 2012 AND THE CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO ON 31ST JULY 2012 WITH SERVICES COMMENCING IN AUGUST 2012.

      13.
      THE 25 YEAR CONTRACT TERM COMPRISES A 5-YEAR CORE INVESTMENT PERIOD TO CLEAR A BACKLOG OF MAINTENANCE (TO DECEMBER 2017) AND A 20 YEAR PERIOD OF LIFECYCLE MAINTENANCE.

      The funding for the contract is sourced from four banks and three equity providers. THE DfT IS the sponsoring government department, PROVIDING APPROXIMATELY £45 MILLION OF PFI GRANT EACH YEAR.

      THE COUNCIL ALSO CONTRIBUTES APPROXIMATELY £1 BILLION OVER THE LIFE OF THE CONTRACT through a combination of prudential borrowing and revenue budgets.

      THE PFI GRANT IS COMBINED WITH COUNCIL FUNDING AND IS USED TO PAY THE ANNUAL UNITARY CHARGE WHICH PAYS AMEY FOR ALL OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED and pays back the bank debt and equity debt, providing a return on investment for private sector investors.

      14.
      In accordance with PFI principles, AMEY AS THE SERVICE PROVIDER CARRIES THE MAJORITY OF THE OPERATIONAL, LEGAL AND FINANCIAL RISKS associated with providing a ‘fence to fence’ highway maintenance service. THIS RISK INCLUDES BEING LIABLE FOR ALL HIGHWAY RELATED INSURANCE CLAIMS RESULTING FROM HISTORICALLY POORLY MAINTAINED HIGHWAY ASSETS e.g. footways and highway trees. The purpose of this is to incentivise best practice from Amey.

      *****

      Please note that in a Witness Statement to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division: case ref: C1/2016/1819), dated 15th JUNE, 2016, Simon Green (SCC’s Executive Director for the “Place” portfolio, to which the Planning and Highways departments report) informed:

      “MR CAULFIELD RECENTLY LEFT SCC TO TAKE UP A NEW POST”.

      THIS HAS NOT BEEN PUBLICISED.

      **** THE DISGRACED STEVE ROBINSON* IS NOW AGAIN RESPONSIBLE FOR HIGHWAY TREES. ****

      * http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/we-re-not-interested-sheffield-council-boss-caught-on-tape-slamming-residents-petition-1-7498593

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

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

  8. Technotronic says:

    SCC / AMEY: DECEIT & MISINFORMATION

    ***
    A LETTER TO SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH
    At the start of the week, on Tuesday 15th November, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit. The same day (15th), it was also sent as a letter to SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH newspaper. The author also sent a similar letter to THE STAR newspaper. However, it would appear that both have chosen not to publish it.

    ***
    The £2.2 billion, city-wide, 25yr Amey PFI contract for highway maintenance (the Streets Ahead project) permits the felling of 67.7% of MATURE highway trees – half the population of Sheffield’s 35,057 highway trees. Non-compliance with good practice could result in the felling of many more.

    At a meeting of full Council, on 1st July, 2015, the Deputy Leader of the Council (Cllr Leigh Bramall) stated:

    ‘Just before Streets Ahead, we had an independent survey done, erm, assessing all the trees across Sheffield, and it found that 70% were nearing the end of their life and 10,000 needed urgent attention. …Now, the contract says up to 50 % of trees can be removed, erm, and actually that’s 18,000.’

    The Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) added:
    ‘The survey noted that 74% of our mature tree stock with very few young trees has given this combination the rate of decline evidence by the number of trees needing treatment.’

    Commenting on the survey, Cllr Fox added: it “helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract” (the Amey PFI ).

    At a later meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016, Cllr Bramall stated:

    ‘In 2006/7 an independent survey assessed the city’s highway tree stock. This survey found that over 75% of the city’s 36,000 trees were nearing the end of their natural life and only 5% of the trees were classed as being in the ‘young’ age group.’

    (Cllr Bramall also stated: “We have 36,000 highway trees on the street. The contract states that up to 50% can be replaced.”)

    These exact words later appeared in a document that SCC presented to the High Court of Justice (during R [Dillner] v Sheffield CC and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd), under the heading: “Streets Ahead Approach to decision making regarding highway tree removal and replacement”.

    The survey referred to is ‘Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007’. It was undertaken by Elliott Consultancy Ltd. I contacted Mr Elliott to enquire about the findings of the survey and to request a copy of the report: SORT had been requesting these from the Streets Ahead team for almost twelve months. Mr Elliott responded: “A formal report was not requested nor provided.” He added:

    ‘IF THERE WAS EVER ANY REQUEST FOR A FORMAL REPORT THEN WE WERE NOT AWARE OF IT – OUR ROLE WAS TO SURVEY THE STREET TREE STOCK AND PROVIDE THAT DATA TO THE ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY… THAT REALLY WAS OUR COMPLETE REMIT – NEITHER FORMAL MANAGEMENT OR A STRATEGIC ROLE.” He added: “I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PFI BID OR WITH ANY OF THE SUBSEQUENT SURVEYS, MANAGEMENT, OR STRATEGIC DISCUSSIONS’.

    Last week, Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) released a news update. It has caused a stir! SORT used a direct quote from Mr Elliott’s response to me:

    ‘Did I tell them they needed to remove half of their tree stock? NO.

    Did I tell them that 70% of the trees were nearing the end of their life? NO […]

    Did I even suggest that the 10,000 bits of tree work were ‘urgent’? NO –

    (you have seen the pp and IT WAS CLEARLY EXPLAINED THAT 25,000 TREES NEEDED NO WORK, and of that 10,000 almost half were routine crown-lifting operations, another quarter being deadwooding operations, and others including the whole gamut of routine works etc. (I DID SUGGEST TO THEM THAT THERE WERE A COUPLE OF HUNDRED TREES THAT COULD BE RETAINED BUT THEIR CONDITION WAS SUCH THAT THEY MAY MERIT REPLACEMENT – THIS WAS THE ONLY PRE-EMPTIVE FELLING ISSUE THAT I RECALL MENTIONING).’

    A copy of the ‘pp’ (PowerPoint slide show), mentioned above, can be accessed online, at Stocksbridge Community Forum (news). THERE APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN WILFUL ATTEMPTS BY SCC AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC AND THE HIGH COURT. Trust in the Council and in its credibility is at an all-time low. Openness honesty and transparency is long overdue. WHEN WILL THE COUNCIL BEGIN TO HONOUR THE POLICY COMMITMENT IT MADE ON 3RD FEBRUARY, 2016: ‘TO BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH THE SHEFFIELD PUBLIC ENSURING ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN’?

    D.Long (Arboriculturist & Urban Forester), Sheffield.”

    *****
    NOTES:

    When commenting on the survey, Cllr Fox’s exact words (on 1st July 2015) were:

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

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

    The “Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007” PowerPoint presentation (“pp”)that Elliott referred to can be accessed using this link:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/Elliott_SCC_Highway%20Tree%20Survey%202006-07.pdf

  9. Technotronic says:

    EXTRACTS FROM Cllr Fox’s Speech, as Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, 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

    Questions about trees are on pages 8 & 9 of the PDF; the Council’s response can be found on pages 9-16.

    The SORT petition can be found here:

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

    A redacted version of the petition is included in the Councils minutes – identical to the version presented in the “Public Document Pack” that was offered to all who attended the meeting.

    The pack “was a hand-out that claimed to present the SORT petition 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. PLEASE LET SORT KNOW WHO MADE THE DECISION TO REDACT THE PETITION AND WHY.”

    Source:

    Page 181 of the SORT LETTER (DATED 29TH JANUARY, 2016) that was distributed to EVERY COUNCILLOR in the city, by the Sheffield City Council Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources department.

    You can access the SORT Letter via the following link:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

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

  10. Technotronic says:

    SCC / AMEY LIES & INCOMPETENCE

    AN E-MAIL ABOUT RUSTLINGS ROAD

    From: streetsahead
    To: XXX
    Sent: Friday, 1 MAY 2015, 15:20
    Subject: FW: Tree felling Rustlings Road S11 XXX

    Dear XXX

    Thank you for your email dated 1st May 2015 regarding Tree felling Rustlings Road.

    We have checked our records: on 29th April 2015 we spoke to XXX advising twelve out of thirty trees on Rustlings Road are scheduled to be removed and replaced prior to the road improvement works.

    ELEVEN OF THESE TREES ARE CAUSING DAMAGE TO THE SURROUNDING STRUCTURES WHICH CANNOT BE ADEQUATELY REPAIRED WITHOUT CAUSING IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO THEIR ROOTS.

    […]

    AMEY RECOMMENDED the twelve trees to Sheffield City Council for removal and replacement for the reasons stated. THE COUNCIL HAVE AGREED AND GIVEN APPROVAL.

    […]

    XXX asked if this was the only option we had to remove the trees, and was advised that WE HAVE LOOKED INTO EVERY OPTION and we FEEL that removal is the best solution. However we will replace each tree that is removed will be replaced. XXX thanked us for the information and getting back to him.

    Follow us on twitter @sccstreetsahead

    Yours sincerely
    Customer Services

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

  11. Technotronic says:

    SHEFFIELD: ECO-DESTRUCTION

    THE AMEY PFI CONTRACT PERMITS AMEY TO FELL 67.7% OF SHEFFIELD’S MATURE HIGHWAY TREES.

    AMEY’s COMMENTS ON THE TOPIC OF DAMAGE CAUSED TO TREES DURING HIGHWAY RESURFACING WORKS:

    On 23rd July, 2015, at the inaugural meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Trees Advisory Forum (which has not met since the second meeting: 2nd September, 2015),

    DARREN BUTT (OPERATIONS DIRECTOR FOR AMEY) commented:

    “The majority of, err, tree roots are actually in the upper sixty mill of the, err, of the surface and therefore REMOVING THE TOP LAYER WILL REMOVE AND BE EXTREMELY DETRIMENTAL TO THOSE TREES. I appreciate the problem. This gentleman’s trees were surviving well; the trouble is, when you see them in absolute blossom, and they are green, you think they’re safe and will continue to thrive, which is sometimes, can be, almost a pinnacle before THEY FAIL. So, hopefully, your tree doesn’t, but, err, THAT DOES HAPPEN.”

    Most trees that Amey have scheduled for felling are healthy and structurally sound. The main reason for felling appears to be (see Appendix 22 & Appendix 25 of the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016*):

    “DUE TO DAMAGE TO THE PAVEMENT OR ROAD”

    Before Amey took its felling lists offline in autumn 2015, to re-word the reasons given for felling (possibly after realising that they represented evidence of non-compliance with the guidance they claimed to comply with and aimed to “build on”), common reasons included*:

    “…LIKELY TO BE DAMAGED upon reconstruction”

    “…WILL BE DAMAGED upon reconstruction”;

    “…WILL BE DAMAGED upon planing off”;

    “…CANNOT REPAIR WITHOUT ROOT DAMAGE”;

    “Kerbs absent, UNABLE TO INSTALL/REPAIR WITHOUT SEVER [sic] ROOT DAMAGE”

    “Kerbs pushed into c/w by buttress root pressing immediately on kerb rear – CANNOT REALIGN”;

    “…root growing into and uplifting f/w at shallow depth – WILL BE DAMAGED UPON RECONSTRUCTION.”

    Many healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees are scheduled for felling on the basis that the USE OF MOWERS, STRIMMERS AND MACHINERY USED IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO TREES DURING RESURFACING WORKS, SUCH AS DIGGERS AND THE PLANING MACHINES, will cause damage of such severity that that tree health and structural integrity will be compromised to such extent that the only reasonable option is to fell the trees. This appears to be one of Amey’s primary reasons for felling.

    The team responsible for the £2.2bn Streets Ahead project (SCC & Amey) have even prescribed felling on the basis that mowers or excavations by Streets Ahead operatives could damage roots and lead to the same consequences.

    DAMAGE CAN BE MINIMISED OR AVOIDED. MATURE TREES CAN BE SAFELY RETAINED, LONG-TERM, THROUGH COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE GUIDANCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS (TDAG; BS5837 & NJUG) that exists to minimise the likelihood and severity of such damage.

    **********

    NOTES:

    *From the SORT letter dated 29th January, 2016. SORT letters can be accessed here:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment

    The letter formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR in the city (on 1st February, 2016), by SCC, prior to the meeting of full Council on 3rd February, 2016 (A).

    A) 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. For further detail, see:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/653#comment-653

  12. Technotronic says:

    A LETTER TO THE STAR:

    “Over several months, the Council have repeatedly, falsely claimed to have used Flexi®-Pave to retain healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees. Flexi®-Pave is a product that can be used when resurfacing footways, as an alternative to tarmac. The key benefit is that when tree parts thicken – as they do each year – the product flexes rather than cracks, unlike tarmac. For this reason, it has been widely used elsewhere in other cities, to retain mature highway trees. A letter appeared in last Thursday’s Sheffield Telegraph (21st July, 2016), written by someone claiming to be an “independent arboriculturist”. I believe he is a sub-contractor on the city-wide, £2.2bn Streets Ahead highway maintenance project, working for the main contractor: Amey.

    I was shocked and appalled by the implication that the slightest wound on a tree would be likely to result in “rapid decline” of the tree. For a tree, its bark is like skin; the wood is like flesh. Just like an animal, if wounded, in theory, the organism can become infected and a disease could result that could lead to death. However, like animals, plants have evolved ways of resisting infection and limiting its spread. It is why trees can receive multiple wounds when pruned, attacked by herbivores, otherwise damaged, and remain strong, healthy and safe. Trees have also evolved ways of compensating for any decay, by reducing crown size and, through incremental growth, adding layers of biomechanically optimised wood, known as reaction wood. This strengthens affected regions and can compensate for cross-sectional loss; it is what enables plant parts to have a safety factor greater than that of most mammal bones. It is why you see many trees with large wounds or cavities (great for wildlife) and yet they remain perfectly healthy and their parts do not fail.

    Most people involved with tree care in Sheffield do not fulfil the British Standard requirements necessary to qualify as competent arboriculturists. An arboriculturist is defined (by BS 5837) as:

    “PERSON WHO HAS, THROUGH RELEVANT EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE, GAINED EXPERTISE IN THE FIELD OF TREES IN RELATION TO CONSTRUCTION”.

    Only a small handful of people in Sheffield meet these criteria. An education and training deficit leads to misunderstanding and inappropriate comments, as well as bad policy and bad decisions that are not soundly based on available evidence, but: “unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions, whether formed by the media or vested interests.”

    Provided Streets Ahead contractors comply with the current, widely accepted, nationally recognised good practice guidance and recommendations that they claim to comply with and aim to “build on” (e.g. BS5837 and guidance published by the National Joint Utilities Group and Trees & Design Action Group), there is no reason why mature highway trees cannot be safely retained, long-term, by use of products like Flexi®-Pave. An air-spade can be used to excavate around roots and avoid wounding.

    The Council & Amey repeatedly state that felling is a “last resort” and that they are willing to consider all other options to retain mature highway trees. However, on 19/2/2016, the Information Commissioner completed an investigation (Case Ref: FS50596905) which revealed that, over 3yrs in to the £2.2bn city-wide Streets Ahead project, neither Amey or the Council had ever commissioned or draughted any alternative highway engineering specifications for footway, edging (kerb) or drain construction for consideration as an alternative to felling, as a means to enable the safe long-term retention of valuable mature highway trees, and the range of valuable ecosystem service benefits they afford to the environment and communities each year. This revelation confirmed that felling is certainly not the “last resort” and that the Streets Ahead team have a long way to go before they can rightfully claim to comply with current good practice.

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

    Source:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/533#comment-533

    Also, see:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/clr_fox_tree_retention_solutions#comment-69476

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-tree-campaigners-question-council-flexi-paving-figures-1-8012728

  13. Pingback: A dawn raid, dissenters silenced: is this a war on trees? | Patrick Barkham – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  14. Technotronic says:

    FELLING: SCC/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND DECEIT

    ***

    A LETTER TO THE STAR

    At the start of the week, on Tuesday 22nd November, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit.

    ***

    ‘Following the 5:00am raid on 17th November 2016, to fell healthy, structurally sound, mature street trees on Rustlings Road, households on streets in many parts of the city have received a letter from Sheffield City Council (SCC) inviting a household representative to complete an online survey to indicate whether or not the household agrees to tree felling proposals for their street. The letter presents a number of assertions, each of which are intended to foster support for felling. In this letter, I will briefly tackle the matter of sustainable management, with the intention of enabling households to develop a more informed opinion.

    THE COLLECTIVE TREE AND WOODLAND COVER OF THE CITY REPRESENTS AN URBAN FOREST, as defined by “The UK Forestry Standard: The governments’ approach to sustainable forest management” (UKFS) and the UNITED NATIONS (FAO Forestry Paper 178). The latter clearly states that STREET TREES ARE PART OF THE URBAN FOREST. It states: “URBAN FORESTS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE”. The UKFS defines a sustainable approach as:

    “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..”

    THE URBAN FOREST IS DEFINED BY AREA OF CANOPY COVER and trees outside woodland contribute the most to that, as they have larger crowns. According to SCC guesstimates, trees outside woodland account for about 56% of Sheffield’s trees. THE MAGNITUDE AND VALUE OF ECO-SYSTEM SERVICE BENEFITS (e.g. grams of nitrogen dioxide captured per year*) that trees afford to the environment and communities, associated with functions (e.g. filtration of airborne pollutants), IS DEPENDENT ON THE SHAPE SIZE AND DISTRIBUTION OF CANOPY COVER. This is why the felling of so many thousands of healthy, structurally sound, mature trees is so controversial. MASS FELLING DIMINISHES CANOPY COVER. It does not maintain it. I have met with SCC’s CABINET MEMBER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (Cllr BRYAN LODGE) and Amey’s Operations Director (Darren Butt: responsible for all highway maintenance until 2037). Neither recognise nor accept that STREET TREES ARE PART OF SHEFFIELD’S URBAN FOREST. This is why they have wrongly set their own definition of sustainable tree population management: “one-for-one replacement”. It takes no account of the impact of proposals on canopy cover. According to the Chairman of the Arboricultural Association (Keith Sacre: Chartered Arboriculturist), 60 TREES WOULD NEED TO BE PLANTED TO REPLACE THE LEAVES LOST BY FELLING JUST ONE MATURE LONDON PLANE TREE. Furthermore, neither SCC nor Amey (the contractor for the £2.2bn, city-wide highway maintenance project) have valued Sheffield’s highway trees, or any of the range of benefits they afford to neighbourhoods and communities. THE MEAN CAPITAL ASSET VALUE FOR AMENITY TREES (CAVAT) FOR THE EIGHT TREES FELLED ON RUSTLINGS ROAD WAS £19,933, as assessed by the inventor of the nationally recognised and accepted CAVAT method: Mr Christopher Neilan (Landscape Officer & Arboriculturist).

    When I met Cllr Lodge, on 1st August, 2016, and complained about the APPARENT DISREGARD FOR COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE, BY THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM (SCC & AMEY), when undertaking works in close proximity to highway trees, and an apparent absence of adequate supervision, monitoring, auditing and enforcement, Cllr LODGE responded:

    “We’re having to shave back on where we’re monitoring. So, the money for the maintenance side is in there, but the monitoring – the client management side – is not part of that, and that’s where we’re having to make funding cuts… THE MONEY THAT WE NEED TO MONITOR THAT CONTRACT IS NOT THERE, because we try to make savings and…where people have left, we haven’t replaced. We’ve done vacancy management, so WE HAVEN’T GOT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT CLIENT MANAGEMENT TEAM WHICH WE OUGHT TO HAVE.”

    Cllr LODGE INFORMED THAT SCC HAD FINED AMEY OVER £2m DURING 2015, for neglect to meet agreed standards. He added that SCC were “just in the process of taking some action against Amey”, for the same reason. If felling is genuinely a “last resort”, all but one of the trees felled on Rustlings Road should have been retained. Cllr LODGE LED ME TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE £2m COULD BE USED TO RETAIN TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD, SPECIFICALLY. In October 2015, Amey’s Operations Manager (JEREMY WILLIS: responsible for highway trees), stated:

    “Firstly, I would like to stress that we are not removing any trees unless it is absolutely necessary.
    …there is no financial gain for Amey to remove trees. In fact the opposite is true, as IT IS MORE COSTLY TO FELL AND REPLACE A TREE THAN MAINTAIN IT IN THE CURRENT POSITION.”

    THE TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD WERE FELLED BECAUSE, LIKE MOST MATURE HIGHWAY TREES IN SHEFFIELD, THEY WERE ASSOCIATED WITH DAMAGE TO THE FOOTWAY AND KERB. With regard to such damage, at the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2nd Sept, 2015), SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance (STEVE ROBINSON) promised: “…if an engineering solution can be applied, then it will be applied. …a tree is removed as a last resort”. He added: “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.”

    Previously, I have criticised SCC and Amey: “BOTH AMEY AND SCC HAVE NEGLECTED TO COMMISSION OR DRAUGHT ANY ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS FOR CONSIDERATION FOR USE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO FELLING”. This is supported by the conclusions of an investigation by the Information Commissioner, published in February 2016. On 5th October, 2016, SCC’s DIRECTOR OF PLACE (SIMON GREEN: responsible for HIGHWAYS and PLANNING) responded: “The Council has not needed to commission any alternative engineering solutions”. On 1st August, 2016, Cllr LODGE INFORMED ME THAT USE OF ALTERNATIVE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD REPRESENT A “DEVIATION” FROM THE AMEY CONTRACT AND THAT THEIR USE HAD NOT BEEN BUDGETED FOR. He asserted that the use of such specifications was unaffordable and therefore not a reasonably practicable option. THIS IS CONTRARY TO THE RANGE OF “NATIONAL BEST PRACTICE” THAT SCC & AMEY CLAIM TO COMPLY WITH AND AIM TO “BUILD ON”.

    In December 2015, communicating on behalf of Mr Green, SCC’s Director of Development Services stated: “I can advise that the scope of the UKFS and Guidelines does not extend to the management of individual trees (arboriculture)”. In October 2016, the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership (SYFP: the partnership responsible for the South Yorkshire Community Forest) finally closed, when SCC withdrew support. The FYFP Director (Johanna Mawson) commented:

    “Also for SYFP ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES HAS BEEN THE LACK OF ANY STRATEGIC WORKING CONTEXT FROM WITHIN COUNCIL, IN OUR CASE THE PLACE DIRECTORATE, AND SPECIFICALLY IN RESPECT TO THE KEY CHALLENGES FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND PROJECTS. …There is also no committed resource for the Green Commission and no delivery strategy in place. All capacity for developing environmental sustainability for Sheffield has been eroded at an alarming rate”.

    SCC’s Green Commission was a group set up “to recommend how to make the city sustainable” and develop a twenty-year plan for SCC’s approach to policies for and management of green infrastructure (Cllr Lodge is co-Chair). A final report was published in February 2016; it includes a Venn diagram that presents economic, health/social and environmental benefits as a “triple bottom line”, with SUSTAINABILITY at the core.

    The UK Government has existing international and European commitments to apply the precautionary principle:

    “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.”

    To quote the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (“the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations”):

    “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.”

    However, in September 2015, the STREETS AHEAD team asserted:
    “Government summit commitments of this kind (i.e. Rio Earth Summit 1992) are not binding on local authorities unless and until they are incorporated into legislation.”

    In December 2015, COMMUNICATING ON BEHALF OF MR GREEN, this opinion was supported by SCC’s Director of Development Services. He stated:
    “agreements in EU conventions are not binding upon Local Authorities unless written into statute.”

    The Director was responding to the following criticism:
    “The Council have failed to comply with both the Arhus Convention and European Directive 2001/42/EC”.

    THE DIRECTIVE REQUIRES APPLICATION OF THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE.

    UNLESS THERE IS A CHANGE IN THE ATTITUDE OF DECISION-MAKERS, SHEFFIELD STANDS TO LOSE ALMOST ALL ITS 25,877 MATURE HIGHWAY TREES as a result of disregard for current good practice when undertaking works in close proximity to trees. Firm Government guidance and adequate legislation is urgently required and long overdue.

    * NO2: a pollutant associated with road transport, resulting in increased heart and respiratory problems, and increased mortality rates.

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.’

    Source:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/698#comment-698

  15. Technotronic says:

    ARBORICULTURAL ASSOCIATION REBUKE SCC & AMEY

    “THE ARBORICULTURAL ASSOCIATION COMMENT ON THE HANDLING OF THE FELLING OF TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD AND THE COUNCIL’S TREE MANAGEMENT POLICY.”

    “Street Trees in Rustlings Road, Sheffield

    Last Updated: 24/11/2016

    The Council have a legal responsibility to remove trees which are in a seriously diseased or dangerous condition. The removal of trees which are not dangerous but are merely seen to be “damaging” (to the pavement or nearby walls) or “discriminatory” (causing alleged obstruction to people with visual or physical impairments) has to be questioned. WE WOULD HOPE THAT ALL ALTERNATIVES TO REMOVAL WOULD HAVE BEEN FULLY CONSIDERED AND EXPLAINED TO ALL STAKEHOLDERS BEFORE ANY ACTION WAS TAKEN.

    FURTHERMORE, WE REITERATE THE IMPORTANCE OF COUNCILS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND ANYONE WITH TREES UNDER THEIR STEWARDSHIP TO STRIVE FOR AND ADVOCATE THE SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF TREES, as well as highlighting the need for clear lines of communication and collaboration between all relevant parties before such crucial decisions are made.”

    SOURCE:
    http://www.trees.org.uk/News-Blog/News/Street-Trees-in-Rustlings-Road,-Sheffield

    *****

    “Speaking at the Arboricultural Association National Amenity Conference, Lord de Mauley, PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE has recognised the Association as the representative body for the tree care profession and ‘THE VOICE OF ARBORICULTURE’.”
    (Arboricultural Association, 2014)

    *****

    PREVIOUSLY…

    “…we are unable to comment on Sheffield in any specific way, but… WE ARE …CONCERNED AT THE LEVEL OF UNNECESSARY TREE LOSS THAT MAY RESULT FROM OVER-ZEALOUS INTERPRETATIONS OF HIGHWAY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS.

    The AA position on trees in streets closely reflects the very strong research evidence and government guidance that trees MUST be properly and fairly accounted for in the urban management decision-making process.

    THE RECENT LONDON I-TREE PROJECT VALUED LONDON’S STREET TREES AT £6 BILLION and identifies and quantifies the wider benefits they bring (eco system services) in respect of storm water alleviation, carbon storage and pollution removal. This report clearly demonstrates that in the light of the benefits that trees bring, THERE CAN BE NO CREDIBLE CASE TO ADOPT AN AUTOMATIC PRESUMPTION TO REMOVE TREES CAUSING LOW LEVELS OF DAMAGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE.

    …the Arboricultural Association would urge all managers involved in this sphere to appreciate the importance of trees in streets, and particularly their beneficial effects on human wellbeing and health, flood buffering and their ability to make urban environments more pleasant places to live and work. WE ACTIVELY ADVOCATE THAT when tree removal is being considered, in addition to the maintenance costs associated with the presence of street trees, the BENEFITS ARE ALSO PROPERLY FACTORED INTO THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS. THIS PARTICULARLY APPLIES TO INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGE, WHERE THE HIGHWAYS GUIDANCE CLEARLY IMPLIES THAT A FLEXIBLE AND BALANCED ASSESSMENT IS REQUIRED.”
    (Barrell, 2016a)

    *****

    “The Arboricultural Association has in its members a wealth of knowledge about the practical aspects of planting and caring for trees…”
    (Framlingham, 2015)

    *****

    “ABOUT US:

    AS THE LEADING VOICE ON ALL MATTERS ARBORICULTURAL IN THE UK, the AA provides a home and membership for all those employed within the sector; championing the SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT of trees in places where people live work and play – FOR THE BENEFIT OF SOCIETY.

    We provide the standards, training, support and recognition that put our members – in the UK and overseas – at the peak of their profession.”

    Source:
    http://www.trees.org.uk/About-Us

    *****

    REFERENCES:

    (FROM THE SORT LETTER dated 29th January, 2016:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/SORT%20LETTER%20TO%20THE%20CABINET%20MEMBER%20FOR%20ENVIRONMENT%20AND%20TRANSPORT_29th%20January%2C%202016_v51.6_Corrected_1.pdf )

    ***
    Arboricultural Association, 2014. Defra recognizes Arboricultural Association as the ‘Voice of Arboriculture’. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.trees.org.uk/aa/news/Defra-recognizes-Arboricultural-Association-as-the-Voice-of-Arboriculture-323.html [Accessed 25 September 2014].

    ***
    Barrell, 2016a. Jeremy Barrell comments on the Sheffield Street Trees issue. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.trees.org.uk/News-Blog/News/Jeremy-Barrell-comments-on-the-Sheffield-Street-Tr [Accessed 18 January 2016].

    ***
    Framlingham, M., 2015. Queen’s Speech — Debate (4th Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:24 pm on 2nd June 2015: House of Lords Debate (c381). [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2015-06-02a.298.8&s=speaker%3A10370#g381.0 [Accessed 4 June 2015].

  16. Technotronic says:

    LABOUR FREAK OUT

    “SHEFFIELD CENTRAL CONSTITUENCY LABOUR PARTY

    Cllr Julie Dore
    Leader
    Sheffield City Council
    Town Hall
    S1 2HH
    26 November 2016

    Dear Julie

    TREE FELLING

    I am writing on behalf of Sheffield Central CLP.

    The recent operation by the Council’s contractor, AMEY, HAS CAUSED DEEP CONCERN AND ANGER amongst many members of Sheffield Central Labour Party. This was evident at our constituency meeting in Thursday 24 November where loyal and normally measured members expressed distress, bewilderment and outrage.

    We would like you to be quite clear that this is not synthetic outrage by a privileged minority of politically motivated opponents of the Labour Party, unaffected by the harsh realities of Tory-imposed cuts. Neither is it a desperate attempt by an environmental lobby to block the essential road improvement schemes being carried out across the city.

    THIS IS A REJECTION BY THE GRASS ROOTS MEMBERSHIP OF OUR PARTY of the way in which SCC is seen to be operating in relation to this issue, specifically the felling of trees on Rustlings Road last week.

    Long-standing members on whom the Party depends to elect Labour councillors feel they have been PLACED IN THE POSITION OF DEFENDING WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE THE INDEFENSIBLE; a growing number are no longer prepared to do this.

    At the time of writing WE ARE CONTINUING TO RECEIVE RESIGNATIONS FROM THE PARTY, unable or unwilling to face the criticism of friends and neighbours any longer. TO SAY THIS IS A POLITICAL GIFT TO OUT OPPONENTS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

    We believe that ALL LABOUR SEATS in Nether Edge and Sharrow (2), Walkley (3), Broomhill Sharrow Vale (2), Crookes (2) and City (1) wards ARE VULNERABLE.

    The negative reaction is widespread.
    Issues crystallise around the recent action on Rustlings Road and the position of the Independent Tree Panel.

    […]

    With best wishes

    Jim Lafferty
    Chair”

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/708#comment-708

  17. Technotronic says:

    Sheffield Trees:

    Julie Dore finds out about Rustlings Road:

  18. Technotronic says:

    FELLING: SCC/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND DECEIT

    ***

    A LETTER TO THE STAR, SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH, YORKSHIRE POST & THE GUARDIAN

    At the start of the week, on Tuesday 29th November, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit.

    ***

    “Dear Editor,

    When Sheffield’s £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance PFI project began, in 2012, mature trees accounted for 73.8% of all highway trees in the city. Most are associated with damage to footways and kerbs and, consequently, scheduled for felling. Prior to the project, Sheffield City Council (SCC) relied on section 58 of the Highways Act as a defence for not undertaking works, due to insufficient funding.

    The Department for Transport (DfT) has informed that The Highways Act does not set out specific standards for maintenance, stating:

    “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.”

    “THE UK FORESTRY STANDARD: The governments’ approach to sustainable forest management” defines and requires the sustainable management of street trees, as part of the urban forest. Last month, the United Nations also officially recognised street trees as such and added: “URBAN FORESTS ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE” (FAO Forestry Paper 178).

    In February 2016, the Information Commissioner informed that both SCC and Amey had neglected to commission or draught any alternative highway engineering specifications for consideration for use when undertaking works in close proximity to trees. This discredits the oft stated project/policy commitment: “removal of any highway tree is always the last resort”. This gross omission is contrary to the range of national good practice that the Streets Ahead team claim to comply with and aim to “build on”, such as British Standard 5837:2012 and UK ROAD LIAISON GROUP GUIDANCE. The latter states:

    “Although ensuring the safety of footways for users will be a priority, in some cases the presence of roadside trees may complicate the provision of footway surface regularity. THE RADICAL TREATMENT OR COMPLETE TREE REMOVAL NECESSARY TO ENSURE SURFACE REGULARITY MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE OR DESIRABLE AND REDUCED LEVELS OF SURFACE REGULARITY MAY BE A MORE ACCEPTABLE OUTCOME.”

    TREES AND ASSOCIATED BENEFITS CAN AND SHOULD BE VALUED AND RETAINED. Perhaps the £2m plus that SCC fined Amey last year could be used to this end?

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/710#comment-710

  19. Technotronic says:

    RECKLESS TREE FELLING: OPENNESS, TRANSPARENCY & JUSTICE

    ***

    A LETTER TO THE SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH (SIMILAR WAS SENT TO THE GUARDIAN)

    Just over a week ago, on Wednesday 23rd November, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit.

    ***

    “Dear Editor,

    Last Thursday, EIGHT TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD were felled as part of the city-wide tree felling programme that is part of the £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ highway maintenance project. Seven of the trees (limes) were healthy and structurally sound, but FELLED BECAUSE, LIKE MOST MATURE HIGHWAY TREES IN SHEFFIELD, THEY WERE ASSOCIATED WITH DAMAGE TO THE FOOTWAY AND KERB. At the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2/9/2015), SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance (Steve Robinson) promised: ‘…IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a last resort’. He added:

    ‘…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.’

    THE TREES FELLED HAD BEEN VALUED by Mr Christopher Neilan (Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters), using his nationally recognised Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees (CAVAT) method. THEY HAD A COLLECTIVE VALUE OF £139,534 AND A MEAN VALUE OF £19,933.

    In February 2016, the Information Commissioner completed an investigation. The conclusions revealed that, OVER THREE YEARS IN TO THE £2.2BN CONTRACT, NEITHER SCC NOR AMEY HAVE COMMISSIONED OR DRAUGHTED ANY ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS for consideration for use as an alternative to felling, to retain trees. This was confirmed on 5th October, 2016, when SCC’s Director of Place (Simon Green: responsible for Highways and Planning) commented: ‘THE COUNCIL HAS NOT NEEDED TO COMMISSION ANY ALTERNATIVE ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS’.

    On 1/8/2016 I met Cllr LODGE (SCC’s Cabinet member for Environment). He informed that use of alternative specifications would represent a ‘deviation’ from the Amey PFI contract. He informed that their use had not been budgeted for and, for this reason, they are unaffordable and not a reasonably practicable option. However, he added that SCC HAD FINED AMEY OVER £2 MILLION during 2015, for neglect to meet agreed standards. He added that SCC were “just in the process of taking some action against Amey”, for the same reason. I WAS LED TO UNDERSTAND THAT £2 MILLION WAS AVAILABLE AND COULD BE USED SPECIFICALLY TO RETAIN TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD. Unless there is a change in the attitude of decision-makers, SHEFFIELD STANDS TO LOSE ALMOST ALL ITS MATURE STREET TREES.

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/714#comment-714

  20. Technotronic says:

    SHEFFIELD’S FIRST TREE STRATEGY (THE DRAUGHT VERSION)

    A STATEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

    ******

    “STATEMENT ON SHEFFIELD’S TREES FROM STAFF AT THE DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE

    In November of 2016, Sheffield City Council undertook a consultation process for its draft Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2016-2030. Staff in the DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE made responses to specific points within the strategy, and to the strategy overall. These were all collated into a single, collective Department of Landscape entry into the consultation. In this blog entry, which is SUBMITTED AND ENDORSED BY THE SIGNATORIES BELOW (comprising ALL THE ACADEMIC AND TEACHING STAFF IN THE DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE), we are publishing the accompanying statement to that submission.

    We welcome Sheffield City Council’s consultation process for the Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2016-2030. THE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF THE URBAN FOREST IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TOPIC, WITH HUGELY SIGNIFICANT IMPLICATIONS FOR HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE.

    As a Department comprised OF RESEARCHERS AND EDUCATORS AND PRACTITIONERS IN LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE PLANNING AND LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT, we would like to contribute in a constructive way to the HOLISTIC AND PROGRESSIVE development of a comprehensive urban tree management strategy, ESPECIALLY in the light of the on-going felling of urban street trees under the Streets Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategy.

    WE STRONGLY BELIEVE IN THE CONCEPT OF AN URBAN FOREST and we fully support initiatives such as The Outdoor City that fundamentally depend on Sheffield’s richly treed urban environment.

    ***** THE EXTENT OF SHEFFIELD’S URBAN FOREST IS IMPRESSIVE. IN MANY WAYS, IT IS THE PREMIER EXAMPLE OF AN URBAN FOREST IN THE UK.*****

    This is the result of forward-looking city plans from the early 20th Century that anticipate the modern concept of ‘GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE’, and from intensive street tree planting from the middle of the 19th Century to the middle of the 20th Century. This has resulted in an unrivalled legacy to current and future generations.

    ***** THE MAINTENANCE OF THIS RESOURCE, AND ITS ON-GOING VALUE, DEPENDS ON COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN, PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES.*****

    The Sheffield Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2016-2030 offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate innovation in how the city measures and values the benefits of its trees, that go well beyond short-term economic considerations.

    ***** OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE, INTEGRATIVE, URBAN TREE MANAGEMENT THAT ACTIVELY ADDRESS THE CONTRIBUTION THAT TREES MAKE TO THE CULTURAL AND ECOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE CITY MUST BE SEIZED.*****

    On-going research in the Department supports the valuable contribution that trees and woodland can make to human health and well-being, cooling the city, attenuating flood waters and providing habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Student design and planning projects throughout all student cohorts in the Department serve as testing grounds for innovative uses for trees across a wide range of real sites in the city. And PhD and Masters theses explore the extent and breadth of ECOSYSTEM BENEFITS that trees bring to the city, and to the tangible and intangible cultural benefits. This research shows that Sheffield residents VALUE STREET TREES highly.

    More tellingly, the felling of STREET TREES as part of the on-going Streets Ahead Tree Management Plan has provoked strong and passionate responses from the public. The current management approach to the removal of street trees has resulted in public animosity and potentially high legal and administrative costs brought about by these legal challenges, Freedom of Information costs, and the decision to employ security at the Rustlings Road site.

    We believe that a stronger urban tree strategy for Sheffield can be developed organically with the good will of Sheffield residents when it is accompanied by a WELL-ROUNDED AND OPEN ASSESSMENT OF THE BENEFITS AND DISADVANTAGES OF URBAN TREES AND SUPPORTED BY THE LATEST RESEARCH IN URBAN FORESTRY AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE.

    WE CAN ACTIVELY CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHEFFIELD’S URBAN FOREST THROUGH research and teaching projects, conferences, innovative case studies, the development of tree-planting prototypes and MANAGEMENT AND MAINTENANCE SPECIFICATIONS PARTICULARLY SUITED TO SHEFFIELD. We hope that our collective contribution will help CREATE A WELL-INFORMED AND MORE TRANSPARENT DECISION-MAKING PROCESS FOR SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL, with specific reference to the draft Trees and Woodlands Strategy 2016-2030 and the Streets Ahead Tree Five Year Management Strategy.

    WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM THE COUNCIL in response to our comments and are happy to elaborate on further points.

    Mel Burton, Ross Cameron, Andy Clayden, Catherine Dee, Nicola Dempsey, NIGEL DUNNETT, Kamni Gill, James Hitchmough, Anna Jorgensen, Eckart Lange, Sally O’Halloran, Laurence Pattacini, Clare Rishbeth, Olaf Schroth, Kevin Thwaites, Thom White, Helen Woolley, JAN WOUDSTRA”

    Source:

    Sheffield Landscape BLOG. December 21, 2016.

    https://sola-blog.com/2016/12/21/statement-on-sheffields-trees-from-staff-at-the-department-of-landscape/

  21. Technotronic says:

    A LETTER TO THE STAR (newspaper)

    Two weeks ago, on Saturday 7th December, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit.

    To date (24th December 2016), the letter has not been published. To emphasise key points, I’ve used upper case. Please remember that Sheffield City Council and Amey both claim (falsely) that felling is a last resort. See:

    “THE COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO RETAIN MATURE HIGHWAY TREES”
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/536#comment-536

    “THE DISCRETION TO RETAIN MATURE TREES”
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/543#comment-543

    “THE COUNCIL AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM HAVE EXISTING POLICY COMMITMENTS, TO COMPLY WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE. See below.”
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/484#comment-484

    “FELLING: SCC/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND DECEIT”
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/710#comment-710

    “A LETTER TO THE STAR” (FlexiPave)
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/617#comment-617

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

    “DANGEROUS HIGHWAY TREES

    Recently, I have been contacted by citizens concerned that there has been a significant increase in the number of highway trees scheduled for felling on the basis that they are “dangerous” and have “structural integrity issues”. At first, I thought they must have misinterpreted information received. At the first of the two “bi-monthly” Highway Trees Advisory Forum (HTAF) meetings, on 23rd July, 2015, which I attended, Sheffield City Council’s HEAD OF HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE (Steve Robinson) informed:

    “We had a survey carried out by an independent firm in 2006/2007… So, IN LIGHT OF THAT, the Council, as part of its application to Government for THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT, RECEIVED FUNDING TO MANAGE THE CITY’S HIGHWAY TREE STOCK. […]

    So, our underinvestment and underfunding left us with a number of DEAD, DYING AND DANGEROUS trees. Some of you would be surprised that THERE WERE 1,200 TREES THAT WERE WITHIN THAT CATEGORY. So, AMEY IDENTIFIED THOSE TREES AND ADDRESSED THOSE FIRST. […]

    OUR NEXT PRIORITY is to improve the condition of our roads and pavements. So, in other words, deal with the DAMAGING trees – those trees that are damaging kerbs, pavements and drains. […]

    So, JUST BECAUSE A TREE IS DISEASED DOESN’T MEAN TO SAY THAT THAT TREE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. …whether it turns out to be dangerous… those judgements are made by tree people. …they have their budget to look after their trees. In terms of damaging… if an engineering solution can be applied, then it will be applied.”

    Curious to see these “dangerous” trees for myself, I have visited a couple of streets in different parts of the city to take a look. What I have discovered is shocking, but not surprising, given the fact that THERE HAS BEEN CONTINUED, WIDESPREAD NON-COMPLIANCE WITH AND DISREGARD FOR A RANGE OF CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE BY SCC & AMEY. It would appear that TREES THAT HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN MAINTAINED BY PRUNING ARE BEING CLASSED AS “DANGEROUS”, on the basis that regrowth could break loose. Such trees can and should be safely retained, long-term, by use of the range of British Standard pruning operations that the Save Our Roadside trees Sheffield Tree Action Group have detailed previously, in a letter dated 29th January 2016 (see Appendix 4). The letter (available online) was distributed to every Councillor in the city, as a Nether Edge Petition hand-out. TO CLASS ALL SUCH TREES AS “DANGEROUS” IS WHAT I WOULD EXPECT FROM A “ROGUE TRADER” and not what should be expected of reasonably skilled, competent arboriculturists.

    The National Tree Safety Group guidance is particularly apt:

    “WITH INADEQUATE UNDERSTANDING, so-called defects may be erroneously confused with hazards and, furthermore, hazards with risk – so unless the risk of harm arising from a hazard is properly taken account of, MANAGEMENT CAN BE SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED, POTENTIALLY LEADING TO COSTLY AND UNNECESSARY INTERVENTION.”

    In April 2013, The Star reported*:

    “THE COUNCIL SAID IT WOULD NOT REPLACE TREES WHERE PLANTING A NEW TREE WOULD BE CHEAPER THAN PRUNING THE EXISTING SPECIES.”

    In October 2015, Amey’s Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead project (Jeremy Willis) stated:

    “IT IS MORE COSTLY TO FELL AND REPLACE A TREE THAN MAINTAIN IT IN THE CURRENT POSITION.”

    In December 2015, he stated:

    “IF IT IS FELT THAT THE TREE COULD BE SAVED BY PRUNING AND MAINTAINING IT THEN THAT IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN.”

    Mature trees accounted for 73.8% of all highway trees (25,877) at the start of the Streets Ahead project (in 2012). Most have been previously pruned and are associated with minor damage to the built environment. If citizens are unwilling to permit Amey to fell most mature highway trees, perhaps it is time to call in Matt Allwright of BBC’s Watchdog?

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield”.

    Source:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/726#comment-726

    *****

    *Reference:

    The Star, 2013. Sheffield council all set to axe 1,250 roadside trees. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-council-all-set-to-axe-1-250-roadside-trees-1-5587392 [Accessed 16 April 2015].

  22. Technotronic says:

    A LETTER TO THE STAR (newspaper)

    A week ago, on Monday 19th December, 2016, the following letter arrived in my inbox. The author has given permission for me to post it here, in its entirety, for your benefit.

    To date (26th December 2016), the letter has not been published.

    *****

    COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE

    In his letter – “Council’s performance” – Mr Hanson commented that criticism of Sheffield City Council (SCC), in The Star, seems “to be motivated by a generalised dislike of the Labour Party” and that the causes of damage to “fabric of civilised life” are “the agents of a ruthless market fundamentalism”. With regard to the gross mismanagement of the highway tree population, and the city-wide felling programme that threatens to fell most mature street trees (which accounted for 73.8% of street trees in 2007), I’m afraid the truth is much more scary.

    Ultimately, SCC is directly responsible for all acts and omissions that affect street trees. This has been clearly and bluntly stated, time and again, by SCC and Amey – the contractor for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance PFI project. Both have repeatedly asserted (falsely) that felling is a “last resort”. Both claim that they are “looking at improving… processes and building on industry good practise”, and that they comply with a range of “National Good Practice”, including the guidance cited in my previous letter (“City Tree Destruction”). THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY EVIDENCE OF COMPLIANCE. If they genuinely did comply with the range of good practice guidance and recommendations that they claim to, felling genuinely would be a last resort. In fact, it is not.

    It is both prudent and reasonable for citizens to expect that, in fulfilment of duties imposed by various legislation, representatives of SCC and all statutory undertakers – including Amey – ensure that their acts and omissions represent the level of care expected of reasonably skilled members of their respective professions. In practice, this requires matching the level of care of current good practice. From what I have witnessed of the replacement of street lighting and road resurfacing works, this is not happening. The Save our Roadside Trees (SORT) Sheffield Tree Action Group have alerted SCC and Amey to all errors multiple times since May 2015, particularly in the SORT letter dated 29/1/2016: distributed to every Councillor, as part of the hand-out for the petition with over 6,295 signatures that the Nether Edge tree group presented to SCC on 3/2/2016. The letter is online, at the Stocksbridge Community Forum website.

    In a witness statement to The High Court of Justice, SCC’s Director of Development Services – “responsible for highway related-matters” (since gone) – stated that the “purpose” of transferring the majority of the operational, legal and financial risks to Amey was “to incentivise best practice from Amey”.

    When I met Cllr Lodge (SCC’s Cabinet member for Environment), on 1st August, 2016, and complained about the apparent disregard for compliance with current good practice, by the Streets Ahead team (SCC & Amey), when undertaking works in close proximity to highway trees, and the apparent absence of adequate supervision, monitoring, auditing and enforcement, Cllr LODGE responded:

    “We’re having to shave back on where we’re monitoring. So, the money for the maintenance side is in there, but the monitoring – the client management side – is not part of that, and that’s where we’re having to make funding cuts… THE MONEY THAT WE NEED TO MONITOR THAT CONTRACT IS NOT THERE, because we try to make savings and…where people have left, we haven’t replaced. We’ve done vacancy management, so WE HAVEN’T GOT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT CLIENT MANAGEMENT TEAM WHICH WE OUGHT TO HAVE.”

    However, Cllr Lodge did add that SCC HAD FINED AMEY OVER £2 MILLION during 2015, for neglect to meet agreed standards. He added that SCC were “just in the process of taking some action against Amey”, for the same reason. I was led to understand that the fine money was available and could be used specifically to retain trees. UNLESS THERE IS A CHANGE IN THE ATTITUDE OF DECISION-MAKERS, SHEFFIELD STANDS TO LOSE ALMOST ALL ITS MATURE STREET TREES.

    D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.

    Source:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/728#comment-728

  23. Technotronic says:

    SCC / POLICE / AMEY DECEIT & COVER-UP

    Check this out…

    In this month’s Westside Magazine, Councillor Allison Teal explains how Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment – Cllr BRYAN LODGE (Labour) – LIED to cover for his Officers, Amey and the Police! This indicates that cars may have been towed away unlawfully on Rustlings Road.
    See the article here:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/RUSTLINGS%20RD%20-%20Illegal%20activity%20-%20Teal_Westside_27th%20January%202017.pdf

    Also, see:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/714#comment-714

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/698#comment-698

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/683#comment-683

  24. Technotronic says:

    Stocksbridge Community Forum (online)

    The forum appears to have been targeted by a professional cyber-attack on 1st or 2nd February, 2017. Currently, a thorough investigation is underway. The culprits and those that hired them may well face serious jail time. The attack coincided with the presentation of the Rivelin Valley Road Sheffield Tree Action Group petition* at the meeting of full Council in Sheffield Town Hall, on 1st February, 2017.

    Our Council have stooped to a new all-time low.

    At this point in time, there are two key suspects: 1) a Local Authority; 2) a multinational Spanish-owned company that works on Local Government Projects.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave…!

    The article in the January edition of Westside magazine (pages 94 & 95) can be accessed via the following links:

    http://www.cylex-uk.co.uk/reviews/viewcompanywebsite.aspx?firmaName=westside+magazine&companyId=16631885

    https://twitter.com/RebeccaHammond7

    * https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-amey-streetsahead-sheffield-gov-uk-save-the-trees-on-rivelin-valley-road-sheffield

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