The Battle for Sheffield’s Trees – The Guardian 26th Feb 2018

The Battle for Sheffield’s TreesThe Guardian 26th Feb 2018

Read the in-depth, hard-hitting article by Ellie Violet Bramley………..

Please circulate as widely as possible – thanks – Ian

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6 Responses to The Battle for Sheffield’s Trees – The Guardian 26th Feb 2018

  1. Paul Hurt says:

    I’m not a member of the Labour Party and I’ve no connection with the Labour Party in Sheffield or anywhere else. Today, I sent an email to various people who are members of the Labour Party and who occupy posts in Sheffield. This is an edited extract from the email. As you’ll see, it concerns the tree felling controversy in Sheffield.

    My Website http://www.linkagenet.com has pages on a wide range of issues. There’s a page on green issues, http://www.linkagenet.com/themes/greenobjections.htm which contains a section, ‘The Green Party: wasting a vote.’

    This is one of the less developed pages of the site, but I intend to revise and extend this section and to add a new section, on the controversy concerning tree felling in Sheffield, including the role of Amey and that of the Council. It will include critical profiles of Professor Ian Rotherham of Sheffield Hallam University, a prominent critic of the Council and discussion of the views of Professor Jennifer Saul of Sheffield University, who has accused the Council of ‘incompetence.’ There’s already a profile of Jennifer Saul on the site which is concerned with a different matter.

    These criticisms of the Green Party and people such as Ian Rotherham (for some of his views on the tree felling issue) come from someone who could be described as a ‘green purist.’ (For example, I’m self-sufficient to a large extent in fruit and vegetables and go to great lengths to avoid waste and to minimize my impact on the environment.) I also have a very strong interest in trees. I’ve two allotments in Walkley, lower and upper, adjoining the Primary School on Morley Street. Most of the lower allotment can be seen from the street, including some of the trees I’ve planted – ten apple trees, two plum trees, 8 hazel nut trees, more exactly cobnuts (Corylus avellana) and filberts (C. maxima), a Rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) and two holly trees (Ilex aquifolium.) There are also wildflower areas and a pond, near to the road but not visible from it, constructed last year to replace a small pond and to give, amongst other advantages, help to breeding frogs. Dragonflies visited it last year.

    I recognize that the Council has many, many responsibilities. I’ve a very strong interest in industry and engineering. Sheffield Forgemasters and all the other remarkable Sheffield businesses, the economy of Sheffield as a whole, are obviously of massive importance – but I think that all too many tree campaigners don’t regard these issues as very important. Despite the tree campaigners, Councillors can’t possibly be expected to spend most of their time on the tree issue.

    My site does have very high rankings in Google for a very wide range of search terms. Some recent examples of Google rankings:

    green ideology objections 9 / 3,770,000
    Israel Palestinian ideology 3 / 10,500,000
    ethical depth 2 / 141,000,000
    ethics theory practice ideology 3 / 51,300,000
    aphorisms religion ideology 6 / 365,000
    aphorisms ethics ideology 6 / 266,000
    [the aphorisms, like all the aphorisms in my page on the subject, are my own]
    feminist ideology 7 / 28,000,000
    science technology linkages contrasts 7 / 74,500,000
    bullfighting arguments against 2 / 4,420,000
    metaphor theme 5 / 44,400,000
    poetry line length 1 / 49,200,000
    poem composite 1 / 611,000
    poem modulation 4 / 352,000
    metre enjambment 5 / 41,800
    generative metrics metre notation 6 / 46,000
    “Seamus Heaney” poetry criticism 3 / 457,000
    “Seamus Heaney” translations versions 3 / 391,000
    “Seamus Heaney” faults 5 / 26,400
    Kafka Rilke 5 / 482,000
    “the culture industry” mediocrity 10 / 31,200
    Irish nationalism illusions 1 / 45,900
    “Large Page Design” 1,2,3 / 52,000
    structures composting “rainwater collecting” 1/ 986,000
    gardening beds boards 6 / 9,840,000
    structures greenhouses cloches 5 / 358,000
    structures plant protection support 2 / 24,900,000

    It will be obvious that I’ve many interests which have no direct linkage with politics and the environment. My time, like that of Sheffield Councillors, is limited. My discussion of issues in the fields of politics and the environment is almost always far less comprehensive and detailed than I would like.

    • Technotronic says:

      LETTER

      The following letter has just arrived in my inbox, dated 6th December 2017. The author has kindly granted permission for me to share it here and has informed that it has been sent to the following newspapers:

      THE STAR, Sheffield Telegraph, The Yorkshire Post & The Guardian.

      Notation and references have been added to support the content.

      *****

      “HOW TO RETAIN MEMORIAL TREES

      On 20th September 2017, The Star – a Sheffield newspaper – reported on the potential cost of retaining street trees [1]. An extortionate estimate of cost to retain trees was provided. Steve Robinson (then SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) was quoted:

      “That’s not a result of a detailed design. We would have to spend some money to do a detailed design.”

      Commenting on the possibility of tree retention, in a report dated 27th November 2017, Philip Beecroft – recently appointed SCC Head of Highway Maintenance – asserted:

      “Undertaking this work…would require prioritisation of the potential tree works against other pressing council priorities such as social care.” [2]

      Of course, instead, Sheffield City Council (SCC) could use some of the £2 million plus that they have fined Amey for sub-standard works [3]. After all, SCC never whinge when it comes to dipping in to that multi-million pound pot to needlessly squander funds on household felling surveys, a sham “Independent” Tree Panel, surveillance of citizen tree groups, PR, smear, campaigns of misrepresentation, or court cases. All of which have been unnecessary, avoidable and represent malpractice [4] – a reckless use of public resources. Even so, only a relatively small fraction of the fine money has been used on such things, leaving plenty to enable the retention of mature street trees and ensure the SCC Highways PFI Client Team – responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project – is adequately resourced [5].

      Amey is the service provider for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project. In 2015, commenting on Amey’s contractual commitments, as SCC Cabinet Member For Environment, Recycling And Streetscene, Cllr Jayne Dunn informed:

      “Under the contract they have to fulfil any promise” [6].

      As I understand it, a contract is legally binding. In response to a 140 page letter from the Save Our Roadside Trees Group, dated 29th January 2016 (distributed to every Councillor in the city) [4], on 2nd February 2016, Amey released a “commercially sensitive” contract document [7]. Quote:

      “The removal of street trees will only be considered as a last resort where there are no other reasonably practicable management options available. […] As part of our commitment to only removing a street tree as a last resort, whenever a tree is found to be either damaging or disciminatory, we consider a list of engineering solutions to establish whether any of these can be employed to retain the tree in situ.”

      On 2nd September, 2015, at the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum, Steve Robinson – Beecroft’s predecessor – publicly presented a list of 25 ideas – “engineering solutions” – that could be used to retain mature street trees when resurfacing. The list included: EXCAVATION; “FLEXIBLE PAVING/SURFACING SOLUTION”; RAMPING/RE-PROFILING; USE OF THINNER KERBS; REMOVAL OF DISPLACED KERBS; PRUNING (including pollarding); “creation of LARGER TREE PITS” [7]. 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.” [8]

      Should works be unaffordable, Mr Robinson informed: “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.”[9]

      There are a number of “strategic goals” listed within the contract document, such as:

      “MAXIMISE potential CANOPY COVER through… good arboricultural management”
      “Establish a SUSTAINABLE tree stock through… appropriate management.”
      “Improve compatibility with environment through HOLISTIC HIGHWAY DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT.”
      “Improve function of highway trees through INNOVATIVE DESIGN strategy.”

      On numerous occasions, the Council and Amey have asserted that they work to British Standard 5837. The standard states [10]:

      “ROOT SYSTEMS, stems and canopies, with allowance for future movement and growth, NEED to be taken into account in all projects…

      Where tree retention or planting is proposed…

      THE OBJECTIVE SHOULD BE to achieve a harmonious relationship between trees and structures that can be sustained…
      (from page 1 of BS5837)

      A PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH TOWARDS TREE PROTECTION SHOULD BE ADOPTED…

      […] Details of DESIGN PROPOSALS should be developed in conjunction with the project ARBORICULTURIST and, where required, input from a SUITABLY QUALIFIED engineer.”
      (from page 23 of BS5837)

      Time for SCC to enforce contractual commitments [6 & 7] and for SCC & Amey to start implementing current good practice [5].

      D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

      Source:
      https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/837#comment-837

  2. Paul Hurt says:

    I’m the author of the comment published here on March 3. I’d intended to send this material to you by email, but I wasn’t able to find an email address. That was the reason why I posted the material here. Now that you’ve been able to read it, it has served its purpose and I wouldn’t object in the least if the material were to be removed from your blog. I wouldn’t regard deletion as censorship at all. I think it’s very much to your credit that you allowed the material to be published here, given its content. I hardly ever post comments on Websites or blogs, but I’m aware of the fact that some moderators will refuse to publish anything which is in the least critical, or doesn’t fit in with the ethos of the site. Obviously, there will be no need to publish the comment I’m posting now.

    Best Wishes,
    Paul Hurt

  3. Technotronic says:

    EXTRACTS FROM A BLOG ENTRY BY HARRY WATKINS
    (Principle consultant at “Rootstock”: a Sheffield consultancy for landscape architecture)

    9th March 2018

    • AN ASSESSMENT OF THE STREETS AHEAD ESAs

    In June and July last year I looked into the legal and regulatory grey area in which the Streets Ahead programme operates. Whilst it is tragic that so many healthy, beautiful and useful street trees can be felled legally, THE PROCESS within which Streets Ahead is being carried out IS SO OBSCURE AND CLOUDED BY RHETORIC AND ANGER that careful analysis of the original documents and practices is more important than ever.

    The next logical step after looking into the REGULATORY CONTEXT is to review the early stages of the programme, starting with the assessments. Whilst this might seem late in the day or an oblique line of reasoning, THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS is fundamental to the later stages of a project: it sets the tone for the project, IDENTIFYING THE TYPE AND EXTENT OF WORKS REQUIRED AND FRAMES THE STANDARDS OF WORK that are expected. If we want to get to the bottom of the questions of whether the practices we see being carried out are acceptable, we have to start with a thorough analysis of how they came about.

    Looking into the environmental assessments was a difficult process: whilst some examples have been published, the combined assessments have not, and it took a FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST to see them. Reading them was no small undertaking: in total, the FOI response was over 2,000 pages long, including large scale A1 and A0 format plans.

    The first thing to note is that because the Streets Ahead programme sits within the regulatory framework of the HIGHWAYS ACT of 1980, the works are not considered to be Development.
    […]
    As a further complication, this grey area also sits outside the guidance and Technical Information Notes that are published by the Landscape Institute.

    As a result, Amey followed a reasonable process of identifying 111 zones within Sheffield where the Streets Ahead programme would be carried out, and for each zone, they carried out an ENVIRONMENTAL SCOPING ASSESSMENT (ESA) using a sort of diluted-hybrid of an EIA methodology. Each ESA has chapters similar to what you might expect in an EIA, covering appropriate issues including Landscape and ranging from Air Quality to Energy and Lighting.

    THIS POST WILL LOOK INTO THE LANDSCAPE CHAPTERS OF THE ESAs and ask, if LVIA and EIA do not apply, how should landscape be assessed?

    The reasonable process would be to carry out an ASSESSMENT of the baseline landscape character, then DESCRIBE the proposed works and then REVIEW the degree of fit between the proposals and the landscape character before identifying suitable DESIGN STRATEGIES TO AVOID, REDUCE OR MITIGATE THE ADVERSE IMPACTS. Amey’s approach was slightly different, and I will set out an overview of the chapters and my comments on the process below.

    It should be remembered that Streets Ahead is a programme to carry out essential maintenance to Sheffield’s STREETS AND PAVEMENTS, OF WHICH THE TREES ARE A COMPONENT PART. …throughout the reading of the ESAs, I held in mind two questions:

    ‘WHAT WAS THE PROCESS FOR ASSESSING THE SCOPE OF WORK?’ and

    ‘DO THESE PRACTICES AND PROCESSES MEET THE CRITERIA FOR BEST PRACTICE?’

    • WRITING AND CHECKING PROCESS

    Looking at the title box for each ESA, it APPEARS THAT the ESAs were …received by PROJECT MANAGER who AUTHORISED THE WORK.
    […]
    …this does raise A QUESTION OF WHETHER SUITABLY QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS WERE TASKED WITH CARRYING THE ASSESSMENTS OUT.

    • FORMAT

    Each ESA is made up of ELEVEN ASSESSMENT CHAPTERS, plus an Appendix that shows the extent of the works in a drawing. [..] The formula for each chapter is to set out the METHODOLOGY OF THE ASSESSMENT, the Baseline Conditions, Key construction activities, Temporary effects, Permanent effects, Control measures or mitigation required and then identify whether further assessment was required.

    If we look at THE LANDSCAPE COMPONENT OF THESE ASSESSMENTS, part of the issue is that many of the component parts of ‘landscape’ (such as the soils, the hydrology, the PLANTS, the surfaces, the interaction between buildings) are ASSESSED IN SPECIFIC CHAPTERS.

    …it feels like THE LANDSCAPE CHAPTERS ARE THIN ON INFORMATION.

    …there are many examples of typos throughout the ESAs where text has been cut and pasted, suggesting that the work was relatively FORMULAIC AND REPETITIVE.

    It is also worth noting that THE ASSESSMENTS WERE CARRIED OUT OVER A FOUR YEAR PERIOD, FROM 2012-16 and that whilst the basic structure of the ESAs is uniform, there are NOTABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ESAs…

    I have summarised the type of information contained within each stage of the landscape chapters below.

    • METHODOLOGY

    The research for the Landscape chapters was carried out using Googlemaps & Magic: SITE VISITS WERE GENERALLY NOT CARRIED OUT (or if they were, then they were not described). IN ONLY ONE INSTANCE WAS A SITE VISIT CARRIED OUT …however, this site visit DID NOT COVER THE WIDER STREETSCAPE OR LANDSCAPE.

    Some assessments identify that a site visit would be required but in each of these, IT STATES THAT THE SITE VISIT SHOULD NOT CARRIED OUT BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL TEAM. At this point, I think it is reasonable to ask, why not? And most importantly, is Googlemaps and Magic sufficiently informative to allow a reasonable landscape or townscape assessment to be carried out?

    • BASELINE CONDITIONS

    The Baseline conditions sections tend not to give a useful description of the landscape or townscape. Much of the contents of these sections would more usefully be in the Project description / location to avoid duplication…

    Other ASSESSMENTS, such as High Green (B12) ARE ESPECIALLY CURSORY, WITH THE LANDSCAPE CHARACTER NEVER EVEN REFERRED TO. NONE OF THE BASELINE CONDITIONS DISCUSS ANY OF THE VEGETATION WITHIN THE ZONE, prompting the question of how it was possible to assess what works were required in later stages of the assessment? VEGETATION (inc trees) ARE NOT EVEN REFERRED TO IN THE NATURE / NATURE CONSERVATION CHAPTERS.
    […]

    IT IS HARD TO SEE WHAT THE LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENTS CONTRIBUTE TO THE ESAs, other than identifying whether or not an area is within a National Park, AONB or Conservation Area. THEY DO NOT DESCRIBE THE KEY ELEMENTS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LANDSCAPE, NOR DO THEY OFFER A SNAPSHOT IN TIME AGAINST WHICH FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS CAN BE ASSESSED.

    • TEMPORARY EFFECTS

    The Temporary effects sections typically describe the presence of contractor teams during the works.
    […]
    THERE IS NO MENTION, IN ANY OF THE ASSESSMENTS, THE 50 YEAR ESTABLISHMENT PERIOD FOR URBAN TREES.

    • PERMANENT EFFECTS

    The Permanent effects sections are similarly brief. […]
    IN NONE OF THE ESAs IS THERE EVER A REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT MANY OF THE AVENUES WILL SEE STRIKING CHANGES TO THE SPECIES COMPOSITION.

    MUCH OF THE TEXT IS EUPHEMISTIC, using phrases such as “Tree removal” (Upperthorpe -B36) TO DESCRIBE A COMPLEX DECISION MAKING-PROCESS of pruning, felling or replanting.

    Perhaps most strikingly, NONE OF THE ESAs EVEN HINT OF THE CUMULATIVE IMPACT THAT MAJOR CHANGES TO THE STREETSCAPE MIGHT HAVE.

    • CONTROL MEASURES / MITIGATION

    A TYPICAL DESCRIPTION OF APPROPRIATE CONTROL MEASURES OR MITIGATION would be that carried out in Totley (A05), where the sum of all necessary or possible works was described as “…WHERE REMOVAL IS REQUIRED ALL MATURE TREES SHOULD BE CHECKED FOR THEIR POTENTIAL FOR BATS BY A COMPETENT ECOLOGIST OR ARBORICULTURIST. Any trees removed should be replaced to ensure no net loss. Replacement may occur at different, more appropriate locations. Any vegetation clearance/trimming or tree removal should be undertaken outside of the bird nesting season.”

    […]

    IN NONE OF THE ESAs WERE MATRICES USED as they are in LVIAs TO ASSESS THE SCALE OF IMPACT OR MAKE AN ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE, SUGGESTING THAT THIS FORMULAIC SET OF MEASURES HAVE LITTLE BEARING ON THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF EACH ZONE. AS SUCH, OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE THE IMPACTS OR FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS WERE ROUTINELY MISSED IN THE ASSESSMENTS (e.g. where would it be possible to integrate SuDS systems?), and hence from later stages, meaning that opportunities to explore design improvements are limited or at least harder to integrate into the budgets / phasing.

    IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT FELLING TREES OUTSIDE OF BIRD NESTING SEASON WAS A MEASURE THAT WAS FREQUENTLY PROPOSED; given that the bird nesting season is generally considered to run from February till August, or at the very least from 1st March to 31st July, it would be reasonable to ask Amey to what extent the recommendations in these sections are being followed by their own contractors.

    • ANY FURTHER ASSESSMENT REQUIRED?

    Each chapter concludes with a tick box asking whether any further assessment is required. OF THE 111 ZONES, ONLY 6% (7 in total) WERE IDENTIFIED AS REQUIRING FURTHER LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENT: Ewden (B01), Bradfield Vale (B05), Chapeltown North (B13), Longley (B18), Broomfield (B39), Fuelwood (B44), and Woodhouse (B72).

    • QUESTIONS

    At this stage, I think A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS NEED TO BE RAISED REGARDING THE METHODOLOGIES AND DETAIL OF THE ASSESSMENTS.

    For example …it would be useful to know which professions were involved for each chapter- Amey has a wide range of specialist teams within its organisation so it should not have been difficult for them from a resource perspective. In a similar vein, IT WOULD BE USEFUL TO SEE THE BRIEF FOR THESE ASSESSMENTS: did they place priorities on cost efficiencies or townscape character, for example? And further, it would be interesting to know what the QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM is for this project and whether these assessments were reviewed by SCC before works on the ground were carried out. I noted in the previous post that THE RESULT OF THESE ASSESSMENTS SEEMS TO BE HAVE BEEN KNOWN BY DAVID CAULFIELD (see paragraph 47 of the Dillner judgment): there must have been some degree of COORDINATION between Amey Hallam Plc and SCC and this needs to be explored.

    In terms of the works being carried out at the moment, we need… A full description of the RECORDS OF REPLACEMENT TREES THAT HAVE BEEN ORDERED, AS WELL AS FULL PLANS FOR PROPOSED KERB AND PAVEMENT WORKS SHOULD BE ASSESSED to identify how the guidance in the Streets Ahead 5 Year Tree Management Strategy has been interpreted. [..]

    INTERIM CONCLUSIONS

    Reading through the ESAs, THE OVERWHELMING IMPRESSION OF THE LANDSCAPE CHAPTERS IS THAT THE ASSESSMENTS WERE NOT CARRIED OUT IN SUFFICIENT DETAIL: almost every stage from the baseline assessment to the design mitigation was carried out a desktop level with little analysis of what makes each zone different, with no unique proposals for each zone, a striking finding given Sheffield’s rich and varied urban fabric. It is not for me to assess other chapters but my impression is that the same analysis applies throughout, and it would be interesting to see thorough analyses by professionals working in the relevant fields.

    In the meantime, there is a strong case to ask for guidance from the Landscape Institute on landscape assessments that do not fall within the GLVIA framework. The LI publishes a number of very useful Technical Information Notes and current guidance notes that “GLVIA guidelines are available for all to use without restriction; one does not need to be a Chartered Landscape Professional to undertake an LVIA although Landscape Professionals are likely to be the best versed in their application.” However, THIS CASE HAS SHOWN THAT SPECIALIST EXPERIENCE IS VALUABLE AND CAN MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE TO THE SCOPE AND DELIVERY OF A PROJECT- to prevent this situation occurring in other towns and cities, our guidance for BEST PRACTICE NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED.

    PERHAPS THE MOST STRIKING FINDING FROM READING THE ESAs IS THE CONFIRMATION THAT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR HIGHWAYS DOES NOT AFFORD SUFFICIENT PROTECTION TO URBAN FORESTS: URBAN FORESTS ARE SUBSTANTIALLY MORE THAN THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS AND NEED TO BE DESIGNATED AS SUCH.

    Rural woodlands have a range of designations that can be applied, and these should be the starting point for assessing what measures are appropriate for urban forests. A sad aspect to this case is the reaction of some senior landscape architects that I have spoken to when seeking guidance on these issues, who have said “it’s complicated.”

    IN TRUTH, THE SITUATION IS NOT PARTICULARLY COMPLICATED, IT JUST SITS IN A GREY AREA OUTSIDE OF THE REGULATORY PROTECTIONS, AND THIS LOOPHOLE NEEDS URGENT ATTENTION.

    Source:
    https://rootstock.me/2018/03/09/an-assessment-of-the-streets-ahead-esas/

    Accessed at 8:34pm on 9th March 2018

  4. Technotronic says:

    Comment From Mr Long, dated 3rd October 2017:

    “AMEY ESAs DO NOT TAKE ACCOUNT OF VALUE OR LOSS OF VALUABLE TREES OR ASSOCIATED BENEFITS

    Sheffield City Council has existing policy commitments to sustainability, with wording similar to the UKFS. In policy, it recognises that green infrastructure affords a range of valuable eco-system services to the environment and communities that enhance society, the economy and environment.

    Maintenance of ECOLOGICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FUNCTIONS requires maintenance and optimisation of canopy cover. This is because the magnitude and value of eco-system benefits is strongly and positively correlated with, and dependent on, the shape, size and distribution of canopy cover.

    Amey have a contractual commitment to “maximise canopy cover” and other contractual commitments to enable this. However, although Amey completed a rudimentary “Environmental Scoping Assessment” (“ESA”) for each of the 108 work zones within the city, as part of the £2.2bn city-wide “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project, neither SCC nor Amey did a CANOPY COVER assessment prior to initiation of a large scale felling programme that permits the felling of half a street tree population where 73.8% of trees are mature with relatively large crowns. If half are felled, that is 67.7% of mature street trees – a significant loss of canopy cover and associated valuable eco-system service benefits that enhance health & wellbeing.

    *****

    Quotes from the court Judgment Approved by the court for handing down – R (Dillner) v Sheffield CC and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd:

    “47
    According to Mr Caulfield’s evidence, SCC has always taken the view that the Streets Ahead work would not have significant adverse environmental effects. But that is not to say that SCC did not address the topic. As the extracts from the document above show, environmental impact (to use a broad term) was a matter taken into account in the Programme. The Department of Transport (i.e. the national Ministry) required the Council to conduct a Cost benefit appraisal called a NATA (New Approach to Appraisal). That included a standard table for completion in which various aspects of the proposal, including effects on the environment, were assessed. In addition, the part of the contract dealing with environmental management required that appropriately qualified expert staff from Amey should undertake what was called an “Environmental Scoping Assessment” (“ESA”) for each of the 108 zones of work, which then formed part of Amey’s Environmental Management Plan.

    48
    Those ESAs provided a systematic consideration of the potential environmental effects of the work, including that in relation to trees, and also considered whether a screening opinion under the EIA Regulations (of which more below) was required. The Court was provided with an example of an assessment. It is a very thorough document, which I
    need not recite in full here. However its contents can be summarised.”

    *****

    In reality, from the only two Amey ESAs that Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) have seen (for Carterknowle and for Ecclesall), Amey did NOT consider impact on CANOPY COVER, its shape, size or distribution, or the VALUE of the trees and the range of valuable associated ecosystem service benefits they afford to the environment and communities for each year of safe useful life expectancy. There is no evidence that any valuations or cost:benefit analyses were undertaken.

    Also, during a conversation with Jerry Gunton (Tree Manager within the Countryside & Environment department – responsible for draughting a tree strategy), on 26th February 2016, Mr Gunton confirmed that although canopy cover for woodlands has been estimated, canopy cover data for other land use categories has not been estimated. See the letter from Mr D.Long (BSc Hons Arb):

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/534#comment-534

    *****

    SOURCE:
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/environmental_and_ecological_ass#comment-80486

    *********************************************

    For further detail, please see the following:

    https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/dillner-v-scc-judgment.pdf

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ecological_assessment_for_removi#incoming-939738

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/AMEY%20ESA%20-%20Environmental%20Scoping%20Assessment%20-%20A22%20Ecclesall%20-%20ESA%20-%20V02.pdf

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/AMEY%20ESA%20-%20Environmental%20Scoping%20Assessment%20-%20B54%20Carterknowle%20-%20ESA%20-%20V02.pdf

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/ANEY%20ESN%20-%20Environment%20Site%20Notes%20-%20B54%20Carterknowle.pdf

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