New take on peat bogs and Sheffield flood response:
More to follow soon but for now……….
THE SCC / ARUP FLOOD CONSULTATION RIP-OFF
IS A MONSTER EMBANKMENT & MASS TREE FELLING COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD?
“On 3rd October, 2016, there was a Bradfield Parish Council (BPC) Public Meeting in Oughtibridge, for Parish Councillors to present information about proposals for flood prevention and get feedback. Miriam Cates (BPC) stated that Arup (the consultancy responsible for drafting proposals) and Sheffield City Council have advised that the proposed embankment for Coronation Park would be 3m tall with a maximum gradient of “approximately one in three”. She said it would be 4m wide top, to allow for a footpath. That would necessitate a width of 22m required beside the river to accommodate the embankment. ALL TREES BESIDE THE RIVER IN THE PARK WOULD NEED TO BE FELLED. Ms Cates stated that when the river reached peak flow, the proposal aimed to reduce the river level downstream by approximately 7cm. She said the proposal for the sports ground aims to achieve similar reduction in river level.
As the Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) have highlighted previously, in their communications with Sheffield City Council ( https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/published-after-wait-14-months-sheffields-first-draught-tree-strategy-available-public-comment ), trees have a structural value and, for each year of life, they contribute a range of VALUABLE ecosystem service benefits to the environment (neighbourhoods/ “place”) and communities (including people) each year. As SORT have correctly advised, these values should – in accordance with a range of current good practice guidance* be factored in to any cost:benefit analysis and be used in balanced risk assessment, to help ensure that acts and omissions are balanced, proportionate, defendable and not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions. This would also help the council fulfil a range of existing policy commitments, in particular, the commitment made at the council meeting that took place on 3rd February, 2016:
“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.”
Trees MUST be assigned a structural value (monetary) and the value (monetary) of the range of ecosystem services they would provide over the remainder of their estimated safe useful life expectancy (SULE), based on the assumption that the park will remain as is (without planned flood defences), must be calculated and taken in to account when draughting policy, plans and proposals. It is also NECESSARY IN ORDER TO HELP ENSURE THAT LOSSES ARE ADEQUATELY ACCOUNTED FOR AND THAT COMMUNITIES ARE NOT SHORT-CHANGED WHEN COMPENSATION IS CALCULATED AND OFFERED AS A MEANS OF OFFSETTING LOSS. Again, this is in line with a range of current good practice guidance.
On Thursday 29th September, 2016, at the flood protection consultation event held by Arup and Sheffield City Council in Oughtibridge, I informed the engineer from Arup that Coronation Park is very popular, frequently used and that the trees that would need to be felled are large, mature, highly visible, as old as the park, and that they are likely to be worth thousands of pounds each. The mean CAVAT value of the healthy, structurally sound, mature lime trees that Amey have scheduled for felling on Rustlings Road is just over £19, 604. This does not take account of the value of the range of valuable ecosystem services that the trees afford to the environment and communities, which also benefit health and well-being: http://nhsforest.org/evidence . It is reasonable to believe that the trees in Coronation Park will have a significantly greater CAVAT value, due to age, condition and visibility. “Beauty” can be assigned a value – an “amenity” value. There are methods that can be used to assign an amenity value.
It is reasonably foreseeable that the tree felling proposed for Coronation Park would have a strong, significant, negative impact on amenity and that if Arup and Sheffield City Council had been open, honest and transparent in the information provided to the public prior to consultation, most, if not all, locals would be strongly opposed to all trees on the riverbank in the park being felled and current proposals for the park would be firmly rejected.”
On Thursday 29th September, 2016, at the flood protection consultation event held by Arup and Sheffield City Council in Oughtibridge, the Arup engineer said there would be no further consultations and that this is questionnaire is the only opportunity that the public will have to influence proposed changes. The engineer said that Arup are still early in the process of developing proposals and that it is unlikely that all proposals would actually be deemed viable. He said COST IS A MAJOR FACTOR TO CONSIDER, AS IS PUBLIC OPINION. HE SAID THAT THE FEEDBACK FORM THIS QUESTIONNAIRE WILL BE USED TO ASSESS PUBLIC SUPPORT OR OPPOSITION FOR EACH PROPOSED SCHEME and added THAT A SCHEME THAT MET SIGNIFICANT OPPOSITION WOULD BE UNLIKELY TO BE REGARDED AS VIABLE.
This highlights the severity of negligent acts and omissions by Arup and Sheffield City Council when communicating with the public about flood protection proposals. IT APPEARS THAT ARUP AND SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL HAVE WILFULLY WITHHELD INFORMATION FROM THE PUBLIC, IN AN ATTEMPT TO SKEW RESPONSES IN FAVOUR OF SUPPORTING CURRENT PROPOSALS presented by Arup and Sheffield City Council during the consultation process.”
* SOME GOOD PRACTICE GUIDANCE THAT SUPPORTS VALUATIONS, COST:BENEFIT ANALYSIS AND BALANCED RISK ASSESSMENT (for further references, see Stocksbridge Community Forum, online: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/sheffield-city-council-scc-upper-don-flood-consultation ):
Sarajevs, V., 2011a. Street Tree Valuation Systems.
Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCRN008.pdf/$file/FCRN008.pdf
Forestry Commission England, 2010. The case for trees – in development and the urban environment. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/eng-casefortrees.pdf/$FILE/eng-casefortrees.pdf
Britt, C., Johnston, M., Riding, A. et al., 2008. Trees in Towns 2: a new survey of urban trees in England and their condition and management. London: Department for Communities and Local Government.
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. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Available at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/news/92439/en/
Health and Safety Executive, n.d. a. ALARP “at a glance”. [Online] Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/theory/alarpglance.htm
Health and Safety Executive, n.d. HSE principles for Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) in support of ALARP decisions. [Online] Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/theory/alarpcba.htm
Landscape Institute, 2013. Green Infrastructure: An integrated approach to land use (Landscape Institute Position Statement). [Online]
Available at: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/sheffield-city-council-scc-upper-don-flood-consultation
Smith, J., 2013. The Barriers and Drivers to Planting and Retaining Urban Trees. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tdag.org.uk/uploads/4/2/8/0/4280686/btp_barriers_and_drivers_final_report_march_2013.pdf
The British Standards Institution, 2012. British Standard 5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction – Recommendations”. London: BSI Standards Ltd.
The British Standards Institution, 2014. British Standard 8545:2014 Trees: From Nursery to Independence in the Landscape – Recommendations, London: BSI Standards Ltd.
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. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/publications.nsf/searchpub/?SearchView&Query=(FCMS024)&SearchOrder=4&SearchMax=0&SearchWV=TRUE&SearchThesaurus=TRUE
Trees and Design Action Group, 2012. Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-the-townscape.html
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