Well done Peak Park as illegal developer prosecuted for damage to ancient woodland

Well done Peak Park as illegal developer prosecuted for damage to ancient woodland

According to the Sheffield Star newspaper, the Peak District National Park authority successful took a case to court against developer Mark Boulby. This gentleman apparently cleared a large area of the protected Froggatt Wood in the eastern Peak’s Conservation Area. The damage happened in September 2015 and involved heavy machinery removing trees and doing untold damage to the protected environment here.

Following the successful prosecution brought by the Park’s tree conservation officers, a fine of £20,000 was imposed by Sheffield Magistrates’ Court.

So, well done Peak National Park, but another stark reminder of why future potential cuts in ‘middle management’ at the Park, i.e. officers who have huge depth of knowledge and skills to protect our vulnerable environment, need to be resisted.* [See my earlier post]

peak-park-planning-woods-2016-001

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5 Responses to Well done Peak Park as illegal developer prosecuted for damage to ancient woodland

  1. Technotronic says:

    FINES

    Had SCC bothered to value their street trees and perhaps even TPO them, as some other Local Authorities have, they would be able to fine Amey even more than the £2m+ that they fined them in 2015. The damage and destruction associated with TOTAL disregard for current good practice* when undertaking works in close proximity to trees, and to trees, could be worth millions of pounds.

    GOOD PRACTICE GUIDANCE

    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/

    The British Standards Institution, 2010. British Standard 3998:2010 Tree Work – Recommendations. London: BSI Standards Ltd.

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

    “EXTRACTS FROM British Standard 5837”;
    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

    The British Standards Institution, 2014. British Standard 8545:2014 Trees: From Nursery to Independence in the Landscape – Recommendations, London: BSI Standards Ltd.
    http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/WhiteRoseForest/pdf/treesFromNurseryToIndependenceInTheLandscape.pdf

    Britt, C., Johnston, M., Riding, A., Slater, J., King, H., Gladstone, M., McMillan, S., Mole, A., Allder, C., Ashworth, P., Devine, T., Morgan, C., Martin, J. 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. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Johnston8/publications

    National Joint Utilities Group, 2007a. Volume 4: NJUG Guidelines For The Planning, Installation And Maintenance Of Utility Apparatus In Proximity To Trees (Issue 2). [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.njug.org.uk/publications/ [Accessed 20 March 2014].

    National Joint Utilities Group, 2007b. Volume 4: NJUG Guidelines For The Planning, Installation And Maintenance Of Utility Apparatus In Proximity To Trees (Issue 2) – Operatives Handbook. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.njug.org.uk/publications/ [Accessed 20 March 2014].

    Roads Liaison Group, 2013. Well-maintained Highways – Code of Practice. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm?docid=C7214A5B-66E1-4994-AA7FBAC360DC5CC7 [Accessed 23 June 2015].

    “EXTRACTS FROM WELL-MAINTAINED HIGHWAYS – CODE OF PRACTICE”;
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/630#comment-630

    Roads Liaison Group, 2013. Well-Lit Highways – Tracked Changes. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm?docid=2B75EC40-0A6F-4BE2-884C6F53ECAEC87B

    “EXTRACTS FROM WELL-LIT HIGHWAYS – TRACKED CHANGES”;
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/631#comment-631

    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 [Accessed 27 June 2012].

    Trees and Design Action Group, 2014. Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery. [Online]
    Available at:
    http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-hard-landscapes.html [Accessed 25 January 2015].

    *****

    “SCC & AMEY: NON-COMPLIANCE WITH GOOD PRACTICE: A FEW EXAMPLES”
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/542#comment-542

    “WHAT THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM (SCC & AMEY) SAY ABOUT TREES AND DESIGN ACTION GROUP (TDAG) GUIDANCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS”;
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/538#comment-538

    “Quotes from the THE TREES AND DESIGN ACTION GROUP (TDAG) document that AMEY claim to have contributed to AND THE Council claim to “AGREE STRONGLY” with”;
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/539#comment-539

    “RISK & LIABILITY”;
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/565#comment-565

    “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

    “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

    Note: although Roads Liaison Group guidance was revised in October 2015, there is a period of grace for local authorities to adjust to the changes. It covers the Core Investment Period for the £2.2bn city-wide Streets Ahead highway maintenance PFI project. As SCC neglected to comply with the previous guidance (mentioned above), getting them to comply with that would be a good start.

    At the Inaugural Highway Trees Advisory Forum (HTAF) meeting, on 23rd July, 2015, Ms Louise Wilcokson, representing SORT, read out paragraph 9.6.4 from WELL-MAINTAINED HIGHWAYS – CODE OF PRACTICE.

    “9.6.4 Extensive root growth from larger trees can cause significant damage to the surface of footways, particularly in urban areas. A RISK ASSESSMENT SHOULD THEREFORE BE UNDERTAKEN with specialist arboricultural advice on the most appropriate course of action, if possible to avoid harm to the tree. In these circumstances, it may be difficult for authorities to reconcile their responsibilities for surface regularity, with wider environmental considerations and A REDUCED STANDARD OF REGULARITY MAY BE ACCEPTABLE.”

    The disgraced Steve Robinson* (SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance – TOTALLY responsible for the all felling decisions) listened VERY closely and paid great attention. It was clear, from his facial expressions and mannerisms, that he was not familiar with this content. He was unprepared for it and did not respond to it.

    At the first Highway Tree Advisory Forum, Mr Robinson – SCC Head of Highway Maintenance – stated:

    “The Council has the final say on any treatment of a tree…so, there is a detailed process through which decisions are made, ultimately ending with me.”

    *
    From the recent 6Ds PDF (page 5: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/6Ds_SCC%20%26%20AMEY%20HIGHWAYS%20INFRASTRUCTURE%20ASSESSMENT%20CRITERIA%20-%20LICENCE%20TO%20KILL_1.pdf ):

    In February 2016, David Caulfield was still SCC’s Director of Development Services: “responsible for highway related-matters”. However, 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-chief-s-views-on-tree-felling-recorded-1-7498357

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

    ‘Furious’ residents slam plans to axe WWI memorial trees in Sheffield:
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/furious-residents-slam-plans-to-axe-wwi-memorial-trees-in-sheffield-1-8254745

    ‘Urgent’ campaign to save Sheffield war memorial trees”:
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/urgent-campaign-to-save-sheffield-war-memorial-trees-1-8265367

    Note: UK Roads Liaison Group guidance was revised in October 2016, NOT 2015.

  2. Technotronic says:

    Correction:

    UK Roads Liaison Group guidance was revised in October 2016, NOT 2015.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  3. Technotronic says:

    FELLING: SCC/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND DECEIT

    ***

    A LETTER TO SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH, YORKSHIRE POST & THE GUARDIAN

    The letter below (unedited version), dated Tuesday 29th November, 2016, was published in The Star on 9th December 2016 – “City Tree Destruction” (the final sentence in the published version was edited by The Star). The quote from the Roads Liaison Group is from the 2016 guidance. In time, it will supersede the version quoted previously by SORT (see above).

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/your-say/city-tree-destruction-1-8281554

    ***

    “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

  4. 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/

  5. Jerome says:

    Glad this was actioned, though £1 million + would have been a more appropriate fine for this, along with a lengthy prison sentence and some sort of compulsory, unpaid reacquisition of the land by the Park authority along with compensation to any neighbouring farms/properties, rambler groups commensurate with the personal assault on their surroundings that this criminal activity entailed.

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