Stories

If you have a story about a tree or trees in Sheffield please send it to chris@chrisrust.net and we’ll see if we can include it here. It’s most likely to be included if it is brief, respectful in language, includes clear facts and sheds useful light on the history and current situation of trees in Sheffield.

THE MELBOURNE RD VETERAN OAK 1.5yr+ RIP
by Lammergeier
Detailed account of the felling of this ancient tree against the advice of Amey’s own expert. Includes very useful technical background and source material.

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3 thoughts on “Stories

  1. Lammergeier

    UP to 27,000 MATURE HIGHWAY TREES FACE THE AXE OVER 25yrs: UP TO 18,000 BEFORE 2018!

    On 17th November, 2015, at a Streets Ahead Roadshow event in Heeley, Sheffield, Amey’s Operations Director for the Streets Ahead project – Darren Butt (“…principally responsible for trees, grounds maintenance and just general highway maintenance”) – informed citizens that >3,500 highway trees have been felled. So, over a four month period, since 23rd July 2015*, >1,000 highway trees were felled.

    The rate of felling is expected to increase as woks focus more on more urban areas of the city, where there are more footways and verges with trees. At least another 14,500 mature trees face the axe, according to Cllr Leigh Bramall (Deputy Leader of the Labour Council & Cabinet Member for Business, Skills & Development: Labour), before 2018, according to the December 2012 issue of ‘Transportation Professional’ (a Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation publication), which interviewed Steve Robinson (Sheffield City Council’s Head of Highway Maintenance).

    27,000 Highway trees are classed as “mature or over-mature (75%) and Streets Ahead believe this stock is: “reaching the end of its natural life”. Furthermore, Cllr Bramall stated (at the meeting of full Council, in the Town Hall, on 1st July 2015):

    “What that means is that if you don’t address that, you actually face a catastrophic decline in the number of trees in 10 or 20 years’ time.”

    Many of these 27,000 trees are likely to be associated with “pavement ridging” or disturbing kerb alignment. Trees associated with this kind of damage are classified by Amey and SCC as “DISCRIMINATORY” or “DAMAGING” and therefore identified as a priority for felling.

    Steve Robinson commented, at the inaugural meeting of the Highway Trees Advisory Forum, on 23rd July, 2015:

    “So, why the 6D’s then? … our underinvestment and underfunding left us with a number of DEAD, DYING AND DANGEROUS trees. Some of you would be surprised that there were 1,200 trees that were within that category. So, AMEY IDENTIFIED THOSE TREES AND ADDRESSED THOSE FIRST.

    “So, just to give you a summary of where we are today, 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.”

    “Our next priority is to improve the condition of our roads and pavements. So, in other words, deal with the DAMAGING trees – those trees that are damaging kerbs, pavements and drains.”

    “So, we’re now looking to deal with DISCRIMINATORY trees, which is the final 6th D, and those are trees that block the pavements, affecting those people that have mobility issues.”

    On 23rd October, in an e-mail (Ref: 101002267244), Jeremy Willis – Streets Ahead Operations Manager (Amey) – stated:

    “I think it pertinent to provide you with some background on the Streets Ahead project. In 2006/7 we commissioned an independent survey which found that over 75% of our street trees were mature or over mature and if we did not embark on a project where we intervened and replaced such trees we would be left with a situation where a large proportion of our street trees would be lost. This is why we have intervened with the Streets Ahead project. We began by replacing those trees that were dangerous, dead and dying.”

    “WE ARE NOW REPLACING THOSE TREES THAT ARE DAMAGING, DISEASED AND CAUSING DISCRIMINATION to pedestrians and other road users.”

    Officials have frequently stated: “Felling is a last resort”. However, citizens have spent six months, since May, 2015, requesting to see the alternative highway engineering specifications for footway and kerb construction that have been considered, as a means of safely retaining mature trees, long term, prior to taking a decision to fell. No such specifications have been made available to the public, or presented to the public.

    Previously, Streets Ahead have justified felling (e.g. on Abbeydale Park Rise) on the basis that their tarmac lifting machine may damage roots, thereby increasing the likelihood of disease, and of trees subsequently becoming dangerous. They have even prescribed felling on the basis that mowers or excavations by Streets Ahead operatives could damage roots and lead to the same consequences (e.g. Rustlings Road).

    *the date of the inaugural meeting of Cllr Fox’s bi-monthly Highway Trees Advisory Forum (HTAF): Cllr Fox (Labour) is Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport & now self-appointed Chair of HTAF.

    https://sheffieldtreemap.wordpress.com/

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  2. Lammergeier

    REPORTING BAD PRACTICE / DAMAGE

    If you spot shoddy work or acts or omissions that are resulting in damage to highway trees, “GET LOST” would appear to be the response from ALL Council personnel with responsibility for on-site supervision of highway works to trees and in close proximity to trees, and for monitoring, auditing and enforcement. If you would like to contact someone from the Council about any of these matters, you will be told to “GET LOST”. Well, not in those words. You will be passed from one person to another before arriving back where you started, with the bulk of the content of your communications totally ignored. Someone has just spent the best part of a month attempting to access basic contact details for the Council personnel most directly responsible. For details, visit the following link:

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/full_work_contact_details_for_sc

    At best, you will be advised to contact Streets Ahead Customer Services: a service that Amey are under contract to provide, as part of the Amey PFI contract, for the fully funded £2.2bn, city-wide Streets Ahead project.

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