Sheffield City Council apologise – at last!
More to follow
I would have liked a letter of apology published in the Star and Daily Telegraph signed by Julie Dore and all others who made the decision to involve the SYP in the way they have, as well as a statement about their inaccurate assessment or reasoning for felling the trees on Rustlings Road that the ITP said should stay. And to question why they sat on the ITP report since July 2016.
I can not accept in the apology that the SCC is listening in that they are felling trees that 1000’s
of Sheffield residents signed petitions not to fell the trees. Nor is the SCC protecting the city’s 36,000 street trees for generations to come – statement simply is way out of context to be polite.
TO INFLUENCE POLICY AND PRACTICE,
COMPLETE FEEDBACK FOR THE DRAUGHT TREE STRATEGY…BEFORE DECEMBER!
LABOUR LEADER GIVES ADVICE
“But speaking tonight at a Westminster event* attended by the families of fallen service personnel in Iraq, MR CORBYN SAID:
‘POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL PARTIES CAN ONLY GROW STRONGER BY ACKNOWLEDGING WHEN THEY GET IT WRONG AND BY FACING UP TO THEIR MISTAKES.’ ”
*At Church House, Westminster.
Watch the video (for proof):
OUR CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT
“One of Sheffield’s most senior councillors who has overseen collection of council tax and business rates has resigned from his cabinet role after running into arrears with his own payments.
BRYAN LODGE, Labour councillor for Birley, said he felt the ‘most appropriate action’ was to quit from his role as cabinet member for finance after falling behind with business rates at his city centre sandwich shop on Division Street.
Coun Lodge said: ‘My business rates have fallen behind by two months…’”
Read more: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-councillor-quits-over-late-rates-1-6186303#ixzz4ByhJRpbI
READ THE SORT UPDATE:
FOR MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE NIGHT FELLING RAID, SEE:
BBC One Show 4th Jan 2017 – Save Sheffield’s Trees. Interviews with councillor Bryan Lodge (SCC Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport*) and tree expert Jeremy Barrell:
For more on the guidance mentioned in the video, see:
* Of interest:
‘EUROPEAN ELECTIONS & YORKSHIRE’S INCOMPETENT POLITICIANS’
(Selected extracts from a letter that Mr Long sent to The Star, Sheffield Telegraph and The Yorkshire Post, dated 22nd May 2019. Not printed)
“In the case of R (Dillner) v Sheffield CC and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd (2016)**, Sheffield’s politicians went to the High Court of Justice…
Commenting on the £2.2bn project, SECTION 195 of the judgement states:
‘…THE ONLY PERSON OR BODY WITHIN THE COUNCIL WITH THE POWER TO TAKE ACTIONS OR MAKE DECISIONS WITH REGARD TO THE WORKS WAS THE CABINET MEMBER responsible. In particular the full Council had no power to do so.'”
**For further detail, see:
Click to access dillner-v-scc-judgment.pdf
Click to access dillner-v-scc-judgment.pdf
2021 UPDATE – LIES & WILFUL DECEIT BY SCC EXPOSED
THE YORKSHIRE POST – Wednesday, 14th October 2020
‘SHEFFIELD COUNCIL MISLED PUBLIC AND ACTED WITH ‘LACK OF HONESTY’ OVER TREE-FELLING SCANDAL, DAMNING INVESTIGATION FINDS’:
‘TODAY – 17th November 2020 – IS THE 4th ANNIVERSARY OF THE NIGHT RAID ON TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD’:
‘NEWS FROM THE TIME OF IAN’S LECTURE’:
‘GREAT TREES OF SHEFFIELD (GTOS) WINNER – NEWS UPDATE’
Agreed – more comments please!
THOUGHTS ON THE DRAUGHT TREE STRATEGY
DEADLINE: END OF NOVEMBER 2016
In short, Aspinall & Gunton (the Sheffield City Council Officers responsible for the tree strategy*) are accepting the Amey 5yr plan* as a sub-strategy for highway trees, as-is. They are insisting that it will not be reviewed and revised until 2018 (end of the core investment period). The 5yr plan is an AMEY document. If you comment on that, AMEY will decide whether or not to take account of your contributions. They WILL ignore your contributions and dismiss them. You know that! >_<
If SCC intend to comply with good practice (which they probably don’t), the sub-strategy for highway trees WILL NEED to be reviewed and revised at planned and ad-hoc intervals, to integrate the aims, objectives, policies and plans contained within the parent strategy (the main strategy document) and associated sub-strategies (such as the sub-strategy for community involvement), and to accommodate changes (in policy, legislation and good practice), and to help ensure adequate implementation. This is NECESSARY, if the sub strategy for highway trees is to be adequate to guide and inform policy and decisions and help ensure implementation of current good practice.
I suspect the strategy is being used as a PR stunt. The way the draught strategy has been prepared, and the online “consultation” strongly indicate this is the case. Both have been and are a TOTAL shambles.
So, you see, the BEST way to influence the sub-strategy for highway trees is by ensuring that the main strategy contains adequate policies, plans, protocols, methods and authorised techniques, etc.
Think of ensuring the parent strategy is adequate as like seeking positive change by complaining to the organ-grinder rather than the monkey. 😉
*SEE THE PDF DOCUMENTS AT THE FOLLOWING LINK:
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.
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.”
The apology and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m mistaken, appears to be for starting the assault before 7am?
Interesting that they ‘commit’ to publishing the ITP Report, but typical of the species (‘politician’) they omit to provide a timeframe?
THE STAR: A LINK TO THE NEWS ITEM
Hardly an apology – just sorry for the timing. If I punch someone on the nose I shall check if the timing is convenient first.
‘NOT THE LAST RESORT’
The letter below – ‘Not the last resort’ – was penned & submitted to The Star by the late ALAN ROBSHAW (one of the original core group that initiated the city-wide tree campaign)
Here’s a link to his actual submission to The Star (prior to any editing by The Star):
Mr Robshaw dedicated the final years of his life to persuading Sheffield City Council to adopt and apply a strategic approach to stewardship of Sheffield’s urban forest resources. See the following:
‘IN MEMORY OF AND THANKS FOR THE LIFE OF ALAN ROBSHAW’:
‘PRESENTATIONS FROM THE SECOND (FINAL) MEETING OF THE ‘BI-MONTHLY’ SCC / AMEY HIGHWAY TREES ADVISORY FORUM’:
THE YORKSHIRE POST – Thursday, 15th October 2020
‘SHEFFIELD COUNCIL MISLED EXPERTS ON ITS OWN £830,000 PANEL OVER TREE-FELLING STRATEGY’:
‘SCC MALFEASANCE, LIES, SECRECY AND DECEIT – A NEWS ARCHIVE COVERING THE OCTOBER 2020 PERIOD’:
A LETTER TO THE STAR
(published by The Star, on Wednesday, 23rd November 2016)
“NOT THE LAST RESORT
So, COUNCILLOR LODGE has confirmed that the trees are coming down because of cost and not ‘as a last resort’. But his figure of £50,000 TO ‘SAVE FIVE TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD’ as he announced on Radio Sheffield the morning after the ‘dawn raid’ is questionable.
For four of those trees, THE INDEPENDENT TREE PANEL ADVISED USING A MIX OF SOLUTIONS , MAINLY ADJUSTING KERBS, LEVELS AND TREE PITS) from the SCC/Amey so-called ‘List of 25 Engineering Solutions’, AS EXPLAINED BY STEVE ROBINSON AT THE SECOND HIGHWAY ADVISORY TREE FORUM.
IMPORTANTLY, HE ALSO THEN CONFIRMED THAT SOLUTIONS 1-14 FROM THAT LIST (I.E. INCLUDING ALL OF THE ABOVE) WOULD “COME AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE COUNCIL; the taxpayer does not pay if an engineering solution or a tree-based solution can be applied – and the reason for that is that the Streets Ahead project is a highway maintenance Project; and engineering and tree-based solutions are highway maintenance solutions.” THEREFORE THEY SHOULD BE FREE.
So (unless the council really don’t understand the contract to which they are a party), THE £50,000 MUST HAVE BEEN FOR JUST THE FIFTH TREE – for which the Independent Tree Panel suggested a different engineering solution (MARGINAL REALIGNMENT OF THE KERB) and also looked to see if the pavement could be ‘levelled’.
However, such pursuit of ‘perfection’ is neither appropriate nor necessary here. Firstly, the tree has not broken the actual line of the road edge – so instead of a slight narrowing of the road and all the expensive ‘legal procedures’ that entails – the kerb itself could be narrower, or a section omitted altogether (as ‘NO-COST’ SOLUTIONS numbers 1 and 5 respectively), while – as clearly demonstrated by a series of sectional slides at the same Highway Advisory Tree Forum – it is also not necessary to ‘level’ the pavement as gradients well within the national guidelines are easily achievable locally here (as ‘NO-COST’ SOLUTION number 3) leaving the roots where they are.
THUS THEY COULD ALL HAVE BEEN SAVED AT NO COST TO THE COUNCIL or to its voting tax payers – so why has the council not held Amey to these contractual obligations? The council appears to have some track record in accepting questionable financial arguments from Amey.
REMEMBER THE £26 MILLION ESTIMATE FOR SAVING THE HEALTHY TREES? AND THE £70,000 TO SAVE THE NOW RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ELM ON CHELSEA ROAD, for which an independent engineer provided a range of solutions from just £1,500 to £3,500?
But there is also something of deeper concern. THE ITP APPEARS TO HAVE REFUSED TO RECEIVE ANY EVIDENCE ABOUT THE ISSUES WITH THIS LIST OR ABOUT ANY ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS from residents who have applied to do so – BUT HAS INSTEAD SOLELY REFERRED TO THE ‘SOLUTIONS’ PROVIDED BY THE COUNCIL. However, through Mr Robinson, the council effectively dismissed much of this list as not practical, not suitable and /or not affordable – indeed SIMON GREEN, DIRECTOR OF PLACE, HAS STATED THAT THEY ONLY STILL REFER TO THE LIST IN ORDER ‘TO AVOID ACCUSATIONS OF NOT CONSIDERING OPTIONS FULLY” (despite it also including the retention of dead, dangerous and diseased trees and the introduction of further potentially dangerous and discriminatory circumstances).
Thus, recommendations to save trees using some of these are pretty much automatically doomed (as being seen in the council’s rejection of their advice as it unfolds across the city), while THE ITP ARE REFUSING TO RECOMMEND A SOLUTION THAT RENDERS A NUMBER OF THESE AS UNNECESSARY AND WHICH HAS BEEN PUBLICLY ENDORSED BY AMEY ITSELF IN ITS ADVERTISING LITERATURE.
“OUR LATEST PROJECT HAS SEEN US USE KBI FLEXI™-PAVE TO REPLACE FULL PAVEMENTS THAT HAD BEEN DAMAGED BY ROOT INTRUSION FROM ESTABLISHED TREES. WE ARE PLEASED WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MATERIAL AND SEE IT AS A GREAT OPTION FOR NEW AND REPLACEMENT TREE SURROUNDS.”
Indeed Amey have gone on to achieve strategic partner status for its use in Birmingham, and it has even been successfully used by other SCC departments and dozens of councils across the country. And you can’t get much better ‘value for money’ for the people of Sheffield than it costing nothing as it too falls under no-cost solution no.4.
So, as well as leading to the seeming debacle Wednesday morning – letting the whole nation know how the council appears to go about its business in Sheffield – by further suppressing the ITP’s report for four months, the council has also prevented the democratic ability to debate or question the result. And have ‘robbed’ Sheffield people of an equivalent asset. Must this really now continue across the city without review?”
Anon (a SORT participant)
For more on the Flexi-Pave debacle & SCC web of deceit (initiated by the current SCC Deputy Leader (Cllr Terry Fox, of ‘bi-monthly’ Highway Tree Advisory Forum notoriety*), see:
LABOUR/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND THE MISMANAGEMENT OF SHEFFIELD’S URBAN FOREST
(D.Long’s letter to The Star, dated 24th August 2015. Not published)
HIGHWAY TREES FORUM
(a letter to The Star, submitted by SORT, as: ‘Tree Forum 2, Sep 2nd’. Published on Wednesday 2nd September 2015)
Comment on this:
TREES, FEAR, LIABILITY AND INCOMPETENCE
(a letter submitted, by SORT, to The Star newspaper, on Sunday 1st November, 2015. Not published)
SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
(a letter from SORT, sent to The Star, dated 8th November 2015. Not published)
IF TREES COULD VOTE! – A LETTER THE STAR REFUSED TO PUBLISH:
(a letter submitted, by SORT, to The Star newspaper, on 3rd May, 2016. Not published)
SHEFFIELD TREE CAMPAIGNERS QUESTION COUNCIL ‘FLEXI-PAVING’ FIGURES
(a letter to The Star, published on 13th July 2016)
(a letter to The Star and Sheffield Telegraph, dated 24th July 2016. Published)
SORT PETITION UPDATE
(dated 8th November 2016)
CITY TREE DESTRUCTION
(a letter to The Star, Sheffield Telegraph, Yorkshire Post & the Guardian, published in The Star on 9th December 2016)
The original version (submitted as ‘City-wide Tree destruction’), prior to editing by The Star:
COST – MISINFORMATION & MISREPRESENTATION
(a letter to Sheffield Telegraph, dated 6th September 2017, published on 14th September 2017)
COST OF SUSTAINABILITY
(a letter to Sheffield Telegraph, The Star and The Yorkshire Post, dated 29th September 2017. Not published)
HOW TO RETAIN MEMORIAL TREES
(a letter to The Star, Sheffield Telegraph, The Yorkshire Post & The Guardian, dated 6th December 2017. Not published)
STREET TREES & HIGHWAY RESURFACING
(a letter to Sheffield Telegraph, The Star & The Yorkshire Post, dated 13th December 2017. Not published)
STREET TREES: MYTH Vs FACT
(a letter to The Star & The Yorkshire Post, dated 22nd December 2017. Not published)
TREE MASSACRE – A FEW FACTS
(a letter to Sheffield Telegraph, dated 10th April 2018. Not published)
TREES: JUGGLING SUSTAINABILITY, RISK & FEAR
(a letter to The Star, dated 13th April 2018. Not published)
SCARBOROUGH’S STREET TREES
(a letter to Scarborough News, dated 5th April, 2019)
* HIGHWAY TREES ADVISORY FORUM SCAM
HTAF 1 (a transcript of comment from Professor Nigel Dunnett):
Audio files of Cllr Fox at HTAF and responding to the petition presented at full council by Sheffield’s first tree group (Save Our Rustlings Trees):
(in addition, see the subsequent posts)
SHEFFIELD’S 1ST TREE STRATEGY
(a letter to The Star, dated 22nd February, 2016. Not published)
TREE STRATEGY CONSULTATION
(a letter published in Sheffield Telegraph on 29th September, 2016)
The original version (submitted as: ‘SHEFFIELD’s FIRST TREE STRATEGY’), prior to editing by Sheffield Telegraph:
DECEIT? (City Tree Strategy)
(a slightly longer version of the letter published in Sheffield Telegraph, sent to The Star, dated 27th September 2016 – Not published)
SCC MISREPRESENTATION & GREENWASH
(a letter to The Star, Sheffield Telegraph And The Yorkshire Post, dated 10th October 2019. Not published)
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