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Tree felling on Myrtle Road

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Spoonster

 

My daughter and I are ill and haven't left the house today. Can you update me re the meeting this morning?

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Hi Fanfar

 

Sorry to hear that you and yur daughter aren't well. I was ill myself all last week and hardly left at all!! The walk around the area where the trees are to be removed went really well. At one point there was some 30 people traipsing the streets. the main public meeting to discuss the proposed road widening and tree felling is taking place on Tuesday evening 17.02.15, 7.30pm at the Heeley Institute. You are more than welcome to come along. Also if you know anybody else who maybe interested let them know about the meeting as well!! Many thanks

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Tuesday evening 17.02.15, 7.30pm at the Heeley Institute. You are more than welcome to come along

 

Thanks for the update spoonster.

 

All this felling around Sheffield is really ******* me off! :rant:

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You're welcome Soloman 1. Please let anybody else who might be interested know as well. The trees coming down is bad enough but the plans for the widening of the road and the insertion of a bus lane that will only be of real use once a day for an hour is just ridiculous!!

 

---------- Post added 14-02-2015 at 16:26 ----------

 

It seems that Sheffield City Council are hell bent on destroying the very fabric of Heeley!!

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You're welcome Soloman 1. Please let anybody else who might be interested know as well. The trees coming down is bad enough but the plans for the widening of the road and the insertion of a bus lane that will only be of real use once a day for an hour is just ridiculous!!

 

Ahh mate, I feel your pain :shakes:

 

It seems that Sheffield City Council are hell bent on destroying the very fabric of Heeley!!

 

SCC seem to be quietly watching as Sheffield's heritage ends up as firewood

 

Heart breaking :(

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As an arboriculturist (tree carer) myself, I think that everyone here with an interest in Sheffield's trees, their conservation, maintenance and associated policies, would benefit greatly from visiting the Stocksbridge Community Forum:

 

https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/news/contribute-website

 

(if this link doesn't work, then type "oak" or "Amey" in to the search box)

 

 

It is nearly a year since the large, veteran oak on Melbourne Rd was removed (on 1st April 2014), with the stump ground out. Locals were not consulted and objections were ignored.

 

Prior to removal, Amey posted a site notice on the tree stating that the tree “…needs to be removed…” because “The tree has decay or disease”.

 

When questioned about this, Amey responded as follows:

 

“The tree to which you refer was found to be infected with Laetiporus sulphurous (LS). Given the tree’s location, within the carriageway, and, therefore, contrary to section 96 of the Highways Act 1980 and also the nature of decay associated with LS, a decision to fell the tree was made."

 

After helpful suggestions from locals, Amey issued the following comment “due to public reaction, and the prominent nature of the tree and its associated amenity value, further investigation has been arranged i.e. Picus tomography”.

 

Reference: https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/not-a-good-time-to-be-a-tree/#comments

 

Given that large, veteran oaks are rare on Sheffield's streets, this particular tree was very special. As many inspectors of street trees may lack the necessary education and training to make truly informed assessments of hazard (things that could cause harm to people or property) and risk (the likelihood of harm) for large, veteran trees, it is appropriate for an *arboricultural consultant* with expertise in these particular aspects of arboriculture to be commissioned to make the necessary assessments and recommendations.

 

In the case of the Melbourne Rd Oak, Amey did commission an arboricultural consultant, but then ignored his findings. Instead of coming up with a sensitive tree management plan, they felled the tree and ground out the roots.

 

After the tree had been felled, it took four months of pestering and waiting before the Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene provided any answers as to exactly why the tree had been felled. Actually, the councillor was asked a number of questions and the question of why was just one of them.

 

His response (four months after the event) was:

 

"The recommendations of both the independent and Amey tree inspections showed that a movement to heritage tree management would entail sacrifice of the existing aesthetic of the tree by means of removal of the full crown and flowing branch structure in factor of preserving the stem for habitat value.

 

A proactive management schedule to prevent crown retrenchment would be required to retain the stem in this form without allowing the canopy to reform, coupled with annual progress monitoring of the decay until this reached a point where even removal of the stem would be required.

 

Given the encroachment of the stem into the carriageway, which both the independent and Amey inspections highlighted as a formal highway obstruction, to retain the tree as a highway obstruction, whilst losing all of the amenity value by removal of the crown, it was felt by all parties that removal and replacement from a highway safety obligations perspective were the first and preferred option.

 

I can assure you that this decision was not reached without significant and considerable wide ranging debate of all available options both between Amey and the Council as well as lengthy and detailed discussions with numerous specialists, independent experts as well as appropriate conservation officers."

 

Reference:

https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/not-a-good-time-to-be-a-tree/

 

Others on this forum have mentioned Cllr Jack Scott. Cllr Scott was Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene at the time the oak was felled. In disgrace, he stood down from that position in November and was replaced by another Labour councillor, Jayne Dunn.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-30102792

 

 

The role of Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene is a very important position within the council. It involves responsibility for the oversight of a range of council services that have responsibility for trees.

 

Any person in this role should ensure that the council is compliant with international, national, regional and local policies and commitments and that these policies and commitments are adequate to comply with international and national laws.

 

Excerpts from the report "Trees in Towns 2: a new survey of urban trees in England and their condition and management" (published 2008.), published by the Department for Communities and Local Government:

 

"In many respects, the existence of a relevant [tree] strategy document is the most significant indicator of a planned approach to management..." (p. 158.)

 

"Those LAs that have not got an existing tree strategy and are not in the process of developing one, need to make this an immediate priority..."

 

…"Even the existence of a specific tree strategy does not always imply that this is an appropriate document to drive the LA’s tree programme. How the strategy was developed and what detailed policies and plans it contains will determine this." (p. 192)

 

For the casual reader this is, perhaps, a largely boring document. However, the final section of the document - pages 487 to 644 - consists of 12 case studies (Appendix 14), provided as local authority examples of best practice.

 

The document is substantial, with a hefty price tag. However, it can be purchased for a fraction of the standard price at:

 

http://www.lulu.com/shop/mark-johnston/trees-in-towns-ii/paperback/product-18906201.html

 

An Executive Summary is available to available to download (as a free PDF document):

 

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/treesintownsii.pdf

 

 

Any local authority, or agent acting on behalf of a local authority (LA), and claiming to act in accordance with current best practice guidance and recommendations will be doing their best to achieve the recommendations outlined in this publication.

 

 

In Sheffield Council’s “Sheffield’s Great Outdoors: Green and Open Space Strategy 2010-2030″ document, the Council committed to producing a “Trees & Woodland Strategy”. This, in all but name, should constitute a Tree Strategy. However, to date, Sheffield is still without such a strategy.

 

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside/green-and-open-space-strategy/the-sheffield-standard.html

 

When Cllr Scott was questioned about what he was doing to ensure that such a document would be produced, it was apparent that he was not even aware of such a commitment. He commented "“We do not presently have a strategy solely for trees. My view is that this wouldn’t be very helpful given they are an intrinsic part of the broader environment and ecology. However, I am confident that we have adopted very good practice in this area.”. “…In my view, current documents are sufficient.”

 

Section 18 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires local planning authorities to produce a Statement of Community Involvement.

 

Here is a link to Sheffield's Statement:

 

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/planning-documents/local-plan/statement-of-community-involvement.html

 

Sheffield's Statement of Community Involvement was adopted in 2006 and was updated last year. Between 17 March and 17 April 2014, the public were invited to comment on the Consultation Draft.

 

"The Statement says how we will consult people and organisations on the preparation of local planning policies and on planning application decisions".

 

In 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published "Community Involvement in Planning: The Government's Objectives".

 

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/www.communities.gov.uk/archived/publications/planningandbuilding/communityinvolvement

 

Excerpt: "This paper sets out the Government's general objectives for community involvement in planning to provide the context for the changes being made to the way that the planning system operates at national, regional and local levels"

 

 

“…there has also been considerable loss of veteran tree habitat due to ill-informed safety management. The conservation and continuity of old trees in the landscape depends on better informed management, which takes into account their intrinsic values as well as the legal implications of ownership.”

 

(Read, 2000, p. 2)

 

Read, H., 2000. Veteran Trees: A guide to good management (IN13). Peterborough: English Nature.

 

Freely available at:

 

http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/75035

 

 

Excerpts from "Common Sense Risk Management of Trees: Guidance on trees and public safety in the UK for owners, managers and advisers", authored by The National Tree Safety Group, published by the Forestry Commission (Forestry Commission stock code: FCM 024):

 

An excerpt from p.25:

 

“the pressures on tree owners to follow a risk-averse approach have never been greater. Publishing a tree strategy which clearly indicates how these management decisions are taken and by whom allows a local authority to temper a risk-averse outlook. As the house of Lords select committee on economics has put it:

“…the most important thing government can do is to ensure that its own policy decisions are soundly based on available evidence and not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions, whether formed by the media or vested interests.””

 

Excerpt (from page 53):

 

"OBVIOUS FEATURES THAT MAY INDICATE STRUCTURAL FAILURE

it is inappropriate to react to tree

defects as though they are all

immediately hazardous. Growth

deformities and other defects do

not necessarily indicate structural

weakness. When noting features

that might indicate a likelihood of

weakness or collapse, it is

important that concern for risk of

failure is restricted to events likely

in the near future. trees exhibit a

wide range of such features, and

the scope for interpreting their

significance is complex,

particularly when considering the

likelihood of non-immediate

failure. for example, anomalies in

tree growth may indicate internal

decay and hollowing; but

anomalies in form may be

attributable to the tree having

compensated for the decay, by

mechanically adapting to natural

processes."

 

 

Excerpt from page 44:

 

“WHAT IS A DEFECT?

the term “defect” can be misleading, as the significance of structural deformities in trees (variations from a perceived norm) can be extremely variable. indeed, deformities can be a response to internal hollowing or decay, compensating for loss of wood strength and providing mechanical advantage, allowing the tree to adapt to wind and gravitational forces. With inadequate understanding, so-called defects may be erroneously confused with hazards and, furthermore, hazards with risk – so unless the risk of harm arising from a hazard is properly taken account of, [b management can be seriously misinformed, potentially leading to costly and unnecessary intervention.[/b]

NTSG definition: “a defect in the context of the growing environment of a tree is a structural, health or environmental condition that could predispose a tree to failure”.

 

 

This publication is freely available for download as a PDF document at:

 

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/publications.nsf/searchpub/?SearchView&Query=(ntsg)&count=999&SearchOrder=4&SearchMax=0&SearchWV=TRUE&SearchThesaurus=TRUE

 

If this link doesn't work, visit the Forestry Commission website and search for "NTSG" in publications. ;)

 

---------- Post added 15-03-2015 at 14:51 ----------

 

With regard to the current guidance and recommendations of the Health and Safety Executive, you will find detail and references within the aforementioned NTSG publication.

 

Further extracts from that publication...

 

An excerpt from p.20:

 

“Very simply, a hazard is something that can cause harm and here, the hazard is a tree.

Risk is characterised by reference to potential events and consequences, or a combination of the two. It is often expressed as a combination of an event’s consequences and the likelihood of it occurring. In this case, a potential consequence is death or serious injury. The important part of the assessment is the likelihood of either occurring.”

 

An excerpt from p.22:

 

“…With a UK population of roughly 60 million, this leads to an overall estimated risk of about one death in 10 million people per year from falling or fallen trees and branches.

 

So far as non-fatal injuries in the UK are concerned, the number of accident and emergency cases (A&E) attributable to being struck by trees (about 55 a year) is exceedingly small compared with the roughly 2.9 million leisure-related A&E cases per year. Footballs (262,000), children’s swings (10,900) and even wheelie bins (2,200) are involved in many more incidents”.

 

An excerpt from p.24:

 

HSE refers to the role of perception in its Sector Information Minute (guidance for HSE inspectors and local authority enforcement officers) as follows:

The risk, per tree, of causing fatality is of the order of one in 150 million for all trees in Britain or one in 10 million for those trees in, or adjacent to areas of public use. However, the low level of overall risk may not be perceived in this way by the public, particularly following an incident.” “

Edited by Native lad

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