A Mature Tree, 'like-for-like' Replacement Programme.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Wirral residents are now looking forward to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council ("the Council") replacing ALL of the mature trees removed from Ashton Park.......on the wholly questionable basis that they were 'diseased', negatively-affected by fungi, or were a potential threat to local residents......and that the Council wanted to avoid litigation cases in the future.
Will the Council please provide information of all discussions (and documentation) concerning its plans to pay for transportation of like-for-like mature trees (in terms of species, age and size) to replace those that it has so enthusiastically removed from Ashton Park, over the course of the last five years?
Specific details of all of the removed trees are available from the 'For Trees' group.
Clearly the Council is aware that like-for-like tree replacement programmes are expensive, but that they have been conducted in the Netherlands, for example, for many decades.
The Council has recently adopted a policy of widespread tree-felling of mature trees, within the borough, following highly questionable assessments of mature trees by a company called 'Amenity Tree Care', aka 'Area Tree Clearance' by some Wirral residence. Amenity Tree Care has previously been in the business of tree-felling, but now appears to be providing decisions concerning the fate of thousands of trees within Wirral Metropolitan borough.
40 mature trees have been condemned to the chain saw, by Amenity Tree Care, in Ashton Park, West Kirby, alone, in recent weeks. This has shocked many local residents. Hundreds of people have protested against the tree-felling.
The Council has failed to follow the legally binding requirements of the Aarhus Convention ('The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters'), to which the UK became a Party in May 2005., by failing to allow West Kirby residents "the right to participate in environmental decision-making".........when all options were open.......with the Council behaving in an open, fair and transparent manner.
Members of the public were denied "the right to participate in environmental decision-making" before a wholesale tree-felling programme was authorised to take place within Ashton Park......and subsequently to be rolled-out across the whole borough.
Please provide details of all meetings, involving senior Council Officers where the Council's Aarhus Convention obligations, specifically concerning the Council's current and on-going, massive tree-felling programme, were discussed, together with the documentation records of those meetings.
Please provide details of the considerable sum of money that the Council has allocated for a like-for-like tree replacement programme together with the numbers of staff allocated to achieve a 100% like-for-like tree replacement target.
Please also provide information concerning the sums of money paid by the Council to Amenity Tree Care (aka Area Tree Clearance) over the last ten years.

Yours faithfully,

Alan Rundle

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Rundle

 

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information
Act.  

 

Please find responses Wirral Council can provide alongside your queries as
follows.

 

Wirral Council can confirm in relation to your final question, it is
currently processing this query and we will aim to provide any recorded
information held as soon as we are able, please accept our apologises for
this delay.

 

 

Wirral residents are now looking forward to Wirral Metropolitan Borough
Council ("the Council") replacing ALL of the mature trees removed from
Ashton Park.......on the wholly questionable basis that they were
'diseased', negatively-affected by fungi, or were a potential threat to
local residents......and that the Council wanted to avoid litigation cases
in the future. Specific details of all of the removed trees are available
from the 'For Trees' group.

Clearly the Council is aware that like-for-like tree replacement
programmes are expensive, but that they have been conducted in the
Netherlands, for example, for many decades.  The Council has recently
adopted a policy of widespread tree-felling of mature trees, within the
borough,

The Council has not adopted a policy of widespread felling of mature
trees.  The tree safety work programme which is presently underway is a
proportional tree risk management approach.

 

 

following highly questionable assessments of mature trees by a company
called 'Amenity Tree Care', aka 'Area Tree Clearance' by some Wirral
residence. Amenity Tree Care has previously been in the business of
tree-felling, but now appears to be providing decisions concerning the
fate of thousands of trees within Wirral Metropolitan borough.

Residents are of course entitled to their view.  We note your comments
regarding Amenity Tree Care; however, Amenity Tree Care are a professional
company who provide a range of services to help organisations manage their
trees. To ensure there is not a conflict of interest, Wirral Borough
Council has divided the work between Amenity Tree Care, who have been
contracted to carry out tree safety surveys for the Council, and Mancoed,
who are undertaking the practical work.

 

 

40 mature trees have been condemned to the chain saw, by Amenity Tree
Care, in Ashton Park, West Kirby, alone, in recent weeks. This has shocked
many local residents. Hundreds of people have protested against the
tree-felling.

The Council has failed to follow the legally binding requirements of the
Aarhus Convention ('The Convention on Access to Information, Public
Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental
Matters'), to which the UK became a Party in May 2005., by failing to
allow West Kirby residents "the right to participate in environmental
decision-making".........when all options were open.......with the Council
behaving in an open, fair and transparent manner.

It is our understanding that the programme of tree safety work at Ashton
Park is not in conflict with the terms of the Aarhus Convention.

 

 

Members of the public were denied "the right to participate in
environmental decision-making" before a wholesale tree-felling programme
was authorised to take place within Ashton Park......and subsequently to
be rolled-out across the whole borough.

Unfortunately, the tree safety survey at Ashton Park highlighted that a
small number of trees needed immediate and critical attention, due to
health and safety issues, and this work had to be done within 7 days.
However, members of the public were offered the opportunity to meet
Council officers prior to the majority of work being undertaken at Ashton
Park, in order that an explanation of why the work was being carried out
could be provided and discussed. 

 

 

Please provide details of all meetings, involving senior Council Officers
where the Council's Aarhus Convention obligations, specifically concerning
the Council's current and on-going, massive tree-felling programme, were
discussed, together with the documentation records of those meetings.

The tree safety work programme, in our opinion, does not fall under the
auspices of the Aarhus Convention.

 

 

Please provide details of the considerable sum of money that the Council
has allocated for a like-for-like tree replacement programme together with
the numbers of staff allocated to achieve a 100% like-for-like tree
replacement target.

As set out at the site visit walk held at Ashton Park in December, there
will be a replacement tree planting scheme at Ashton Park. This is in the
process of being discussed and the specific replanting requirements of the
site will be taken into consideration.  The budget amount required has yet
to be allocated.

 

 

Please also provide information concerning the sums of money paid by the
Council to Amenity Tree Care (aka Area Tree Clearance) over the last ten
years.

The Council is currently processing this part of your request for any
recorded information held.

 

 

We trust that this information is of assistance to you.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management Officer

Business Management

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

[1]Tel:0151 691 8397

[2][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

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InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Rundle

 

Further to our email of 21 February 2019 in response to your Freedom of
Information request, we are now in a position to provide a response to the
final outstanding enquiry. 

 

Please also provide information concerning the sums of money paid by the
Council to Amenity Tree Care (aka Area Tree Clearance) over the last ten
years.

 

In relation to Parks and Countryside service, there has been a spend of
£50,966  - primarily from January 2017 onwards

 

For highways, for the period April 2009- August 2013, Amenity Tree Care
was the Council’s tree maintenance contractor and the annual budget for
tree maintenance was £220,000 per year. For the 4 months up to the expiry
of their contract April 2013-August 2013 expenditure was approximately a
third of the annual budget which amounted to £70,000.

 

Amenity was also successful in their tree survey submission tender in
January 2017, the budget for this work was £40,000.

 

The total budget for the period April 2009 – August 2013, (4 years and 4
months) was approximately £950,000 and adding the estimated cost of the
survey in 2017 of £40,000 takes the total works expenditure to £990,000.
 Both the tree maintenance contract and the survey contract were subject
to our tender process and awarded on a competitive basis in compliance
with the Council’s procurement rules.

 

We trust this now answers your enquiry fully and thank you for your
patience.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

 

Tel: 0151 691 8201

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

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