Merry Christmas to all our tree fellas………

Merry Christmas to all our ‘tree fellas’ (if your conscience allows!)……… to all my readers, and to those who care for Sheffield’s trees……the campaign goes on!

This is what I wrote last year ……. scroll to the bottom and little has changed!

https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/12/24/a-christmas-carol/

So glad tidings one and all, and if you want a Yule log…….ask Amey ‘cos they have a few to spare!

The campaign goes on – all power to the protestors and what remains of environmental democracy! Expect more next year. ‘It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings…..

 

Ian

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3 Responses to Merry Christmas to all our tree fellas………

  1. Technotronic says:

    LETTER

    On 22nd December 2017, the following letter was sent to THE STAR & The Yorkshire Post (local newspapers).

    The author has kindly granted permission for me to share it here. The letter was prepared on 10th Oct 2017, in response to ignorant comment reported in The Star.

    *****
    “STREET TREES: MYTH Vs FACT

    Dear Editor,

    Opponents of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (including most Councillors) often point out that the first Sheffield tree group – now known as Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) – did not begin until over two and a half years in to the £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ highway maintenance project. They use this fact as evidence that nobody had a problem with the mass felling programme until then. However, a less well publicised fact is that the SORT group formed because Sheffield City Council and the service provider (Amey) had insisted that felling was a last resort, but refused to provide any evidence that alternative highway engineering specifications had been commissioned or drafted for consideration for use, as an alternative to the felling of healthy, mature, structurally sound street trees – trees associated with minor damage to footways and kerbs.

    As recently as October 2016, SCC confirmed that no such alternative specifications have ever been commissioned or drafted. In February 2017, Cllr Lodge (SCC Cabinet member for Environment & Streetscene) revealed that SCC had lied to the public when it had wrongly spent over a year telling citizens that FLEXI®-PAVE had been/would be used as an alternative surfacing product around mature trees, to enable their retention. He informed:

    ‘FLEXI®-PAVE AS A PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN USED ON THE STREETS AHEAD CONTRACT. … flexible paving actually includes the use of asphalt, so flexible paving solutions have been used’.

    On 23rd July, 2015, at the first of the two ‘bi-monthly’ meetings of the Highway Tree Advisory Forum (HTAF) that have occurred to date, Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) informed:

    ‘So, our underinvestment and underfunding left us with a number of DEAD, DYING and DANGEROUS trees. …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… So, we’re now looking to deal with DISCRIMINATORY trees.

    …there’s been 2,563 highway trees removed because they met one of the 6Ds and there was NO OTHER RECTIFICATION that we could carry out. Each tree that is taken out is replaced on a one-for-one basis.

    …IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a LAST resort’

    In response to a 140 page letter from SORT, dated 29th January 2016 (distributed as to every Councillor in the city), on 2nd February 2016 (the day before SCC “debate” of the petition by the Nether Edge tree group), Amey released a contract document which they claimed had been kept secret because it was “commercially sensitive”. The document lists 25 ideas that Amey claim consider for use – as a substitute for alternative highway engineering specifications – to retain mature street trees.

    At the second HTAF meeting, on 2nd September 2015, Mr Robinson presented the list of 25 ideas. With regard to the first 13 ideas (which included alternative surfacing), he informed:

    ‘The engineering and tree-based solutions come at no extra cost to the council. So, the tax-payer 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.’

    With regard to minor damage to the highway, he stated:

    ‘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.’

    In the contract document, Amey commit to: ‘MAXIMISE potential CANOPY COVER’, SUSTAINABILITY, and ‘HOLISTIC’, ‘INNOVATIVE’ highway design and management.

    Prior to spring 2015, during 2013 The Star twice reported that 1,250 street trees would be felled ‘in total’. It reported that those trees were dangerous, diseased or dying, and informed:

    ‘hundreds more trees could also be felled where they are deemed to be damaging road surfaces or “causing a hazard”‘.

    Hundreds became thousands. This was not revealed until SCC ‘debate’ of the SORT petition, on 1st July 2015, when Cllr Jayne Dunn (previously SCC Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene) informed that 5,000 street trees would be felled during the Streets Ahead project, and Cllr Leigh Bramall (then SCC Deputy Leader) informed that the £2.2bn contract permits the felling of 18,000 mature street trees. Cllr Bramall misrepresented the results of a street tree survey, and misrepresented current good practice, by wrongly asserting that 70% of street trees were ‘nearing the end of their life’ and without felling thousands of trees, and restocking, there would be ‘a catastrophic decline in the number of trees in 10 or 20 years’ time’.

    Amey will have felled 6,000 mature street trees by 2018. As 80% were NOT categorised as dead, dying or dangerous, and none of those provisionally scheduled for felling have been retained, it would appear that Sheffielders have been misled, deceived and fiddled, by SCC & Amey.

    Yours faithfully,

    D.Long (Arboriculturist & Urban Forester)”

    *****
    The author appended additional comment (sadly, the audio recordings cannot be shared on this website, as there is no option to do so):

    Because Johnston Publishing Ltd (The Star) has previously refused to print my letters, on the false basis that “it is not possible” to verify my quotes, as evidence that my quotes are correct, please listen to the attached audio recordings:

    • Cllr Bryan Lodge – SCC Cabinet Member For Environment And Streetscene – 1st February 2017_RVR_Petition – Response to Mr Buxton_Flexi®-Pave_NOT USED_170201_009_8_2

    • Cllr Jayne Dunn – Former SCC Cabinet Member For Environment, Recycling And Streetscene – 1st July 2015_SORT_Petition_5,000_6Ds_Cost_Sustainability_150701_003_1_15_2_1

    • Cllr Leigh Bramall – Deputy Leader of SCC – 1st July 2015_SORT_Petition_Elliott_70%_10,000_18,000_150701_003_5_2

    • HTAF 1_23rd_July_2015_Steve_Robinson – SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_Elliott_6Ds_Accountability_Specification_NO OTHER RECTIFICATION_150723_002_8

    • HTAF 2_2nd_September_2015_Steve_Robinson – SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_NO EXTRA COST SOLUTIONS_150902_001_2_3_2

    • HTAF 2_2nd_September_2015_Steve_Robinson – SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_Section 58 Defence – Insufficient Funding_150902_001_2_3_2

    Also see the following:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/6Ds_SCC%20%26%20AMEY%20HIGHWAYS%20INFRASTRUCTURE%20ASSESSMENT%20CRITERIA%20-%20LICENCE%20TO%20KILL_1.pdf

    • A letter from the SCC Chief Executive to me, in response to criticism from me (appended to this communication, below*. The most relevant section appears against a grey background):
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/LETTER%20From%20SCCs%20Chief%20Executive%20to%20Nick%20Clegg%20MP%20-%20OVER%204yrs%20IN%20TO%20A%20%C2%A32.2%20bn%20PROJECT%20%26%20NO%20ALTERNATIVE%20HIGHWAY%20ENGINEERING%20SPECIFICATIONS%20DRAFTED.pdf

    Quote:

    “The report suggested in 2006 that around 1,000 trees should be replaced… The report only considered tree condition and not trees in the categories of DAMAGING or Discriminatory.

    IT IS TRUE THAT THE COUNCIL HAVE NOT COMMISSIONED ANY OTHER ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS and that is because the LIST of 25 engineering solutions is itself a diverse compendium of possible solutions available including changes to footways and kerbs.”

    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/row-over-sheffield-tree-felling-set-to-ramp-up-in-2016-1-7641587

    • The SORT letter dated 29th January 2016 (the Nether Edge petition hand-out – distributed to EVERY Councillor in the city) triggered Amey & SCC to publish a back-dated “COMMERCIALLY SENSITIVE” 5yr contract document, on 2nd February 2016:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/SCC_Sheffield%20Streets%20Ahead%205%20Year%20Tree%20Management%20Strategy.pdf

    • Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007 (the “report” referred to by John Mothersole [& Cllr Terry Fox, as SCC Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, in 2015]):
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/Elliott_SCC_Highway%20Tree%20Survey%202006-07.pdf

    • SCC / AMEY: DECEIT & MISINFORMATION (A Letter to Sheffield Telegraph):
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/683#comment-683

    *****
    SOURCE:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/839#comment-839

  2. Technotronic says:

    AMEY INCOMPETENCE

    Kate Billington

    “No one in the process knows what they are doing, different parties don’t communicate with one another and the contractors/ subcontractors are unskilled, unscrupulous cowboys taking our money and the piss out of our city. Just my opinion. For Christs sake they’re supposed to be sorting out the roads and don’t even know how to mix tarmac that’s fit for purpose. And with no monitoring of the works- ah, sorry, I meant self monitoring…..ffs …. PFI HELL. I hope Billington, Butt, Dore, Lodge etc have a shit Xmas.”
    Like · 3 · 2 hrs

    Source:
    STAG Facebook (accessed at 00:27hrs on 24th December 2017)

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/392913244219104/?ref=gs&fref=gs&dti=392913244219104&hc_location=group_dialog

  3. Technotronic says:

    Video (with lots of bad language & bad spelling):

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