The felling goes on apace…….Dore next with the Vernon Road Oak and the Chatsworth Road limes coming into focus…
Words misused – I have had several enquiries about the words being used to justify the felling of Sheffield street trees and so it is worth setting down a few thoughts………..these sit alongside phrases such as ‘trees that are fit for purpose’!!!!!
‘Mature or over mature, dead, dying, or dangerous’
‘Mature or over mature’ are all subjective terms generally with regard to commercial forestry stock – and really the point at which the monetary value of a tree might begin to drop and the annual growth increment decrease – i.e. the year-on-year added value. In terms of amenity trees such as street trees this is rather meaningless and is being deliberately misused to confuse the public – the implication being that a huge number of urban street trees are at or near the point of imminent collapse – which they are not. Some street trees will die prematurely due to urban and roadside stresses – and this has always been accepted – and is why tees need ‘management’.
However, the vast majority are in their prime of life – especially so in Sheffield where many of these trees grew from the 1890s to the 1960s in the worst atmospheric pollution on the planet. They survived that, and now with our ‘clean air’ are happy, happy, happy – in short, as Supermac said, ‘they have never had it so good’. Many of these are species that can easily live for 250 to 450 years and they are now about 100 to 120 years at most. As the Americans would say ‘do the math’!
Similarly, descriptions such as ‘dead, dying, or dangerous’ or ‘nearing the end of their useful life’, are for the most part misused, confusing and confused, and presented cynically as a smoke screen to justify the felling of perfectly good trees – which will easily live another 100 to 150 years or more.
With the Limes in particular, there is a major issue of the loss of hugely important pollen and nectar sources for pollinating insects and in particular nationally-threatened honey bees.
The losses of these big trees further compromises already creaking ecosystem services such as mitigation of flood risk and climate change impacts.
For flood risk we are chopping down the trees that hold back the rainwater and threatening to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on flawed engineering solutions. We need to work with the grain of nature and not battle against it – just common-sense! [I will be discussing this with Nigel Slack on Sheffield Live on Wednesday 22nd February at 7 pm – do watch!]
Feel free to quote or circulate any of the above.
And more on the immediate threat:
SAVE DORE TOTLEY AND BRADWAY TREES
Iconic old oak – ‘very fine specimen’ to be felled
Yet more on Sheffield’s trees. An iconic old oak tree on Vernon Road in Sheffield is to be felled – despite the Council’s Independent Tree Panel strong advice to retain it. For the city’s campaigners, this tree has become a symbol of the Council’s disregard of the value of its street trees. When the fellers come, protesters are poised to sit or stand under it to protect it – possibly in their hundreds.
The final decision on the tree was announced this week by Sheffield City Council. The Panel inspected the tree and recommended:
“The tree is an oak aged about 150 years. It is a very fine specimen, in excellent condition, with a further 150 years life expectancy. We advise that there is strong arboricultural case for retaining this tree.”
Despite this, the tree is to be felled. The Council say its roots are disturbing the kerb and roadway. Other trees in Dore, including seven mature limes round the corner on Chatsworth Road, are also expected to be felled, possibly within days.
Since it was known last year that the tree was under threat, it has become a veritable art gallery of support – ribbons, children’s drawings and poems have all been hung on the tree.
Next Sunday afternoon at 2pm, residents and protesters are to gather near the tree and celebrate it in song, poetry and art. at a special event, #showthelove
A resident of Vernon Road, Margaret Peart said:
“The oak is very old and was originally a field edge tree, kept when the road was built. LET’S SAVE THE VERNON OAK posters are displayed in many windows and also in Chatsworth Road. Yellow ribbons not only mark condemned trees but hedges and gateposts. Remarkable things are happening in this quiet Sheffield suburb – people are protesting and the tree is even tweeting (@SAVEDORETREES!)”
This week’s announcement on the oak has been at the same time as other decisions on 45 more trees in Nether Edge and Walkley. Of these trees, the Independent Tree Panel recommended that 27 could be saved. The Council have taken their advice on only one tree.
Local campaigner and tree historian Sally Goldsmith said:
“This proves that the Independent Tree Panel, set up by the Council, is just a sop to public opinion. To date their advice has been taken only 6 times, yet around 5000 street trees have already been felled, many of them mature and healthy heritage trees with years of life left. We expect a huge amount of support for this lovely oak.”
Felling of mature healthy chestnuts and planes has been controversial in leafy Nether Edge all last week and continues – though not without arrests of protestors and severe delay to the felling programme. Campaigners turn up to protect trees all over the ‘greenest’ city. The national and local press continue to feature the protests and the actions of the Council and their contractor Amey. National organisations such as The Woodland Trust and the Arboricultural Association have voiced strong criticism of the Council’s policy.
The old oak which has stood through Queen Victoria’s reign and two world wars is waiting to see what happens next.
For more information:
Ann Anderson, Tel 07715 623523 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
#showthelove event Sunday 19th Feb, 2pm, Vernon Road, Dore, S17 3QE