Clr Fox Tree retention solutions

John Ruskin made this Freedom of Information request to Sheffield City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Sheffield City Council did not have the information requested.

Dear Sheffield City Council,

On 28/12/15 it was reported in the Sheffield Telegraph that Clr Fox had stated a "143" trees have been "retained" using "flexi paving" solutions.

1/ Please would you provide locations for the retained "street trees" using this flexi paving solutuon.

2/ Was the flexi paving used as a part of the specific StreetsAhead highway improvement program.

3/ If not through the StreetsAhead program, which SCC Dept instigated the use of the flexi paving solution?

4/ Where did the funding originate for the flexi paving solution. e.g StreetsAhead, SCC capital spend budgets, External Gov' grant, etc. (please state the general funding source)

Yours faithfully,

J Ruskin

FOI, Sheffield City Council

 
Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 1305
 
Dear John Ruskin
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Tree
retention solutions and the use of "flexi-paving" which we received on
11/01/2016
 
This has been logged as a Freedom of Information Request, and will be
dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act.  The reference number for
your request can be found above.
 
The Freedom of Information Act states that we must respond to you within
20 working days, therefore, you should expect to hear a response from us
by 08/02/2016.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact us on the number
below.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [1]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
_____________________________________________
From: John Ruskin [[2]mailto:[FOI #309749 email]]
Sent: 10 January 2016 17:33
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Clr Fox Tree retention solutions
 
 
 
 
     Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
     On 28/12/15 it was reported in the Sheffield Telegraph that Clr Fox
     had stated a "143" trees have been "retained" using "flexi paving"
     solutions.
 
     1/ Please would you provide locations for the retained "street
     trees" using this flexi paving solutuon.
 
     2/ Was the flexi paving used as a part of the specific StreetsAhead
     highway improvement program.
 
     3/ If not through the StreetsAhead program, which SCC Dept
     instigated the use of the flexi paving solution?
 
     4/ Where did the funding originate for the flexi paving solution.
     e.g StreetsAhead, SCC capital spend budgets, External Gov' grant,
     etc. (please state the general funding source)
 
     Yours faithfully,
 
     J Ruskin
 
     -------------------------------------------------------------------
 
     Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
     [3][FOI #309749 email]
 
     Is [4][Sheffield City Council request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
     Information requests to Sheffield City Council? If so, please
     contact us using this form:
    
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show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear John Ruskin,
 
Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI/1305
 
Thank you for your recent request for information regarding Tree
retention solutions and the use of "flexi-paving", which we received on
11/01/2016.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
 
     1/ Please would you provide locations for the retained "street
     trees" using this flexi paving solution.
 
We do not hold this information. We can confirm that flexi paving is
frequently used as a part of the specific Streets Ahead highway
maintenance programme. However, we do not hold a record of the locations
of the sites where its use has led to a tree being retained. 
 
     2/ Was the flexi paving used as a part of the specific StreetsAhead
     highway improvement program.
Yes
 
     3/ If not through the StreetsAhead program, which SCC Dept
     instigated the use of the flexi paving solution?
N/A
 
     4/ Where did the funding originate for the flexi paving solution.
     e.g StreetsAhead, SCC capital spend budgets, External Gov' grant,
     etc. (please state the general funding source)
Flexi pave is one of the treatments used on the Streets Ahead project and
is paid for as part of the monthly unitary payment made by the Authority
for the delivery of a complete highway maintenance service
 
 
 
I hope the information we have provided is of help to your enquiries.  If
you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to
contact us.
 
If you are unhappy with the response you have received in relation to your
request, you are entitled to have this reviewed.  You can ask for an
internal review by either writing to the above address or by emailing
[1][Sheffield City Council request email].
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you
can contact the Information Commissioners Office. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone 0303 123
1113, or for further details see their website [2]www.ico.org.uk
 
Kind Regards,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [3]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
_____________________________________________

show quoted sections

Mr Long left an annotation ()

Extracts from the "SORT Letter To The Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29th January, 2016

The letter also formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) - on 1st February, 2016, at 3:17pm - to encourage informed “debate” at the meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016, about tree population management.

"On 29th October, 2015, SORT met with Graham Pell: the Managing Director of KBI [sic] UK Ltd (the maker and supplier of Flexi®-Pave). He informed us that he had NEVER been contacted by SCC Highways department or Amey about using Flexi®-Pave on highways in Sheffield, although he did say that other SCC departments have occasionally used it. Mr Pell stated that KBI UK Ltd had never been invited by SCC or Amey to provide materials or services for the Streets Ahead project."

"On 2nd November, 2015 David Caulfield personally agreed to a meeting with Mr Pell (see Appendix 28). However, to date, we are not aware that this has taken place. Mr Pell has offered to meet with SCC on numerous occasions about the possibility of using Flexi®-Pave on highways, and appears to have been totally ignored (see Appendix 32).

Mr Pell’s revelation contradicts information provided by David Caulfield, via Cllr Nikki Bond (Labour), in an e-mail dated 8th January, 2016, (see Appendix 22) which stated:

'I can confirm that KBM, the company which campaign groups have had contact and discussions with regarding flexible paving, were Amey's previous national supplier for Flexi Pave for the first half of the Core Investment Period, and as such they have supplied Amey with both materials and services on multiple occasions for Streets Ahead works around highway trees here in Sheffield.' ”

At the meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) stated THAT THE £2.2BN, "TRANSFORMATIONAL", CITY-WIDE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT HAD NOT BUDGETED FOR RETAINING MATURE HIGHWAY TREES, SO NONE OF THE ITEMS LISTED ON THE STREETS AHEAD LIST OF 25 "ENGINEERING OPTIONS" CAN BE USED.

In a communication dated 7TH JULY, 2015, the Department for Transport stated:

“Local highway authorities, in your case Sheffield City Council, have a duty under Section 41 of the HIGHWAYS ACT 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. THE ACT DOES NOT SET OUT SPECIFIC STANDARDS OF MAINTENANCE, AS IT IS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO ASSESS which parts of its network are in need of repair and WHAT STANDARDS SHOULD BE APPLIED, based upon their local knowledge and circumstances. Central Government has no powers to override local decisions in these matters.”

Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) gave a presentation at the second Highway Tree Advisory Forum (HTAF) meeting, on 2ND SEPTEMBER, 2015 (the most recent of the "bi-monthly" HTAF meetings). He stated:

“We are replacing about 70% of the City’s footways over the first five years. We have a duty to consider equalities. Now, in the past, existing TRIP HAZARDS have been left, and 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. It now can’t have that defence because it has funding of £2.2bn on the PFI project.”

Previously, at the inaugural meeting of the Highway Trees Advisory Forum, on 23RD JULY, 2015, Steve Robinson stated:

“We had a survey carried out by an independent firm in 2006/2007... So, 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.”

"In terms of damaging, yes, again, there is a degree of judgement and, erm, and, you know, if something can be done, IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. Err, there was a lots [sic] of comment made earlier on about whether a tree is removed as a last resort; and A TREE IS REMOVED AS A LAST RESORT. And, finally, on discriminatory, again, yes, there is some judgement to be applied that, err, if a tree is restricting the width of a footpath beyond, err, nationally and recognised guidelines, then that tree is discriminatory and, err, will be removed. So there are degrees of judgement, and there are others where there’s a zero tolerance.”

On 23rd OCTOBER, 2015, in an e-mail, Jeremy Willis (Amey's Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead project: self proclaimed "arboricultural specialist") 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... 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.”

Source: SORT LETTER To The Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29TH JANUARY, 2016

The letter also formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources) - on 1st February, 2016, at 3:17pm - to encourage informed “debate” at the meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016, about tree population management. In reality, there was no debate; as usual, just a series of speeches and the usual political point scoring.

The letter can be accessed online above, and at: http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/res...

On 23rd MARCH, 2016, "...Executive Director for Place SIMON GREEN said:

'...WE WILL OF COURSE CONTINUE TO assess our trees and REPLACE THOSE THAT ARE DANGEROUS.' "

Source: http://www.hortweek.com/sheffield-city-c...

Since at least May, 2015, the Council have used every opportunity to state that DAMAGE to footways (pavements) and edging (kerbs) represents a DANGER to motorists and pedestrians. This kind of damage is associated with mature highway trees. 75% of highway trees are mature (27,000). The Amey PFI contract permits up to 18,000 to be felled in the 5 year period (the Core Investment Period) to 2018.

There is VERY good reason to believe that many thousands of mature highway trees will be felled.

3,670 MATURE HIGHWAY TREES HAVE BEEN FELLED.

On 3rd Feb, 2016, the Council Tweeted that 14% of trees would be felled. The same day, Cllr BRAMALL (Deputy Leader of the Council) was asked why he did not believe so many trees would be felled. He Tweeted:

“coz only trees that fall under ‘6 ds’ are replaced”.

Source: https://twitter.com/SaveSheffTrees/statu...

On 19th FEBRUARY, 2016, the Information Commissioner completed an investigation (Case Reference Number FS50596905) in to a previous Freedom of Information request response issued by Sheffield City Council (request reference – FOI / 422, dated 6th July, 2015). It revealed that NEITHER AMEY OR THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM HAVE EVER COMMISSIONED OR DRAUGHTED ANY ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS for footway, edging (kerb) or drain construction that could enable the safe long-term retention of mature highway trees (27,000 TREES: 75% OF THE POPULATION), without unacceptable compromise to tree health or structural integrity.

The FOI / 422 request was:
“Under the FOI act, I request the SPECIFICATIONS for the range of options that were considered and deemed to be impracticable, for the 11 healthy trees due for felling on Rustlings Road.”

In response to FOI / 422, the Information Commissioner response stated:

"THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS AND RATIONALE FOR THE DECISION IS NOT RECORDED. The Commissioner considers that in this case, NO FURTHER INFORMATION IS HELD BEYOND THE LIST OF 25 OPTIONS, PROVIDED IN RESPONSE TO YOUR INITIAL REQUEST…".

Source (see for further information):

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

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/updated-sh...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

David Caulfield is Director of Development Services. He has overall responsibility for highway trees, according to a statement to The Star (newspaper) made by Simon Green.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

Please note that KBI UK Ltd IS the maker and supplier of Flexi®-Pave, NOT KBM. Sorry for any confusion.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FOI requests 1259 and 1813

GETTING CLOSER TO THE TRUTH: RECENT REVELATIONS

From: Xxxx
Sent: 12 May 2016 13:37
To: FOI
Subject: FYI Re FOI requests 1259 and 1813

FYI Re FOI requests 1259 and 1813

Dear Resources Business Support

It is clear that this chain of requests deals with saving mature street trees with the use of a flexible paving material (as Cllr Fox was apparently ‘paraphrased’ in the Star article referred to). You have already confirmed that there is no record of this (1259) – and this latest response (1813) only seems to further confirm that it is not / has not been happening.

The firm is ‘AMK Fence-in Ltd’ by the way, not ‘AMK fencing’ and they advise that; A) they are not aware of being involved in the saving of any mature trees; and, B) the material used around the new trees on the Moor is not suitable for highway footpaths.

You only have to look at it to see that the arrangement there is ‘sacrificial’; the material (which is like a spongy playground protection) being peeled back as the trunk expands, to then be followed by the incremental removal of the concentric grating sections if necessary.

Permeability is only one aspect of the surfacing being advocated, flexibility (and not just of the sort that distinguishes any type of ‘tarmac’ from, say, concrete) is paramount – plus a firm walking surface not only able to protect roots but also take occasional vehicular traffic. This is a specific material.

Regarding these responses, please also note that the new solutions raised by the Campaigners at the second Highway Tree Advisory Forum have apparently not been used (as was confirmed by Mr Steve Robinson at the same event, while also confirming only seven of the Council’s own list of 25 had been invoked), and if we understand it, KPI Industries advised they have not supplied Flexi™-Pave to the Streets Ahead Project; only to the Housing and Parks departments.

As you seem unable to answer the original question – or at least appear to be saying that Cllr Fox never said it - would you please (or request him to) confirm that it is incorrect to suggest that 143 trees have been retained through the use of ‘flexi paving’ and advise which of the campaigners’ solutions have been used and where, so that it can be open to ‘public scrutiny’, as we are used to hear him saying? Or otherwise, if necessary, please instigate an internal review on the above matters as offered in your responses?

Many thanks
Xxxx
__________________________________________________

THE COUNCIL / STREETS AHEAD (AMEY) RESPONSE:

From: "FOI" <FOI@sheffield.gov.uk>
To: Xxxx
Sent: Friday, 27 MAY, 2016 11:19:39 AM
Subject: RE: FYI Re FOI requests 1259 and 1813
Dear Xxxx,

Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in response.

In regard to your request the Council would normally process emails showing dissatisfaction in regard to the handling or response to a Freedom of Information Act request as a request for internal review; however, this process is only available to the initial requestor.

In this case I have passed your comments to the Council’s Highways Team who have confirmed the following in reference to your enquiry.

"Further to your email dates 12th May, I hope I can clarify the position regarding the use of flexible paving and the statement made by Cllr Fox and reported in The Star in December 2015.

At the time of Cllr Fox’s statement, a flexible paving solution had been specified for use around 143 highway trees. However, given that the Council had paused its tree replacement programme pending the outcome of the survey of residents on roads affected by the programme, THE FLEXIBLE PAVING HAS STILL TO BE USED IN ALL OF THE SPECIFIED 143 SITES.

As was outlined in our response to FoI 1259 and 1813, a flexible paving solution has already been used around existing trees on The Moor and around newly planted trees on Bowood Road, but due to this “pause” in works, IT HAS NOT YET BEEN POSSIBLE TO USE THIS AS A SURFACE TREATMENT AROUND TREES AT ALL OF THE 143 SITES ADVISED BY CLLR FOX IN HIS EARLIER PRESS STATEMENT.

I trust you understand that Cllr Fox could not have foreseen this pause at the time of his statement being made, nor the impact that this would have upon the schedule of works.

Now that the Council’s tree replacement programme has recommenced on the roads where residents have indicated that they are favour of the tree replacement planned for that road, I can confirm that THE USE OF FLEXIBLE PAVING AS A MEASURE TO RETAIN HIGHWAY TREES WILL, WHERE APPROPRIATE, RECOMMENCE."

I hope this aids with your enquiries.

Kind regards

Mark

Mark Knight
Information Management Officer
Information and Knowledge Management
Business Change & Information Solutions (BCIS)
Sheffield City Council
PO Box 1283 Sheffield S1 1UJ
www.sheffield.gov.uk

Landline: - Oll4 273 59l6
Mobile: - O7557 7578Ol
__________________________________________________

FOI 1259
From: Xxxx
Sent: 04 January 2016 11:46
To: FOI
Subject: Use of flexible paving to retain trees

Dear Sir

I wish to register a FOI request. On Monday, December 28th, 2015, in the Sheffield Star, Councillor Terry Fox was stated as saying "solutions put forward by campaigners were already used including flexi paving which has on 143 occasions retained trees."

I would be grateful if you would let me know the location of these 143 occasions, the date these were used, the actual product that was used on each occasion and the contractors that carried out the work.

Thank you in anticipation of your response,
Xxxx

__________________________________________________
From: "FOI" <FOI@sheffield.gov.uk>
Date: 18 Jan 2016 15:05
Subject: Response – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 1259
To: Xxxx
Cc:
Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 1259

Dear Xxxx

Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Flexible Paving applications around highway trees which we received on 04/01/2016

Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:

On 28 December 2015*, the Sheffield Star printed in its article the following- “Coun Fox also said solutions put forward by campaigners were ‘already used’ including flexi paving which has on 143 occasions retained trees.” The only direct quote from Cllr Fox used by the Sheffield Star was that solutions being put forward by campaigners were “already used”. WE HAVE NO INFORMATION RELATING TO FLEXI-PAVING BEING USED TO RETAIN TREES ON 143 OCCASIONS although we can confirm that the current permeable paving product in use on the Streets Ahead project around trees is “flexi pave”.

I hope the information we have provided is of help to your enquiries. If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received in relation to your request, you are entitled to have this reviewed. You can ask for an internal review by either writing to the above address or by emailing FOI@sheffield.gov.uk.

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you can contact the Information Commissioners Office. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone O3O3 l23 1113, or for further details see their website www.ico.org.uk

Kind Regards,

Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : Oll4 2O 53478
E-mail : FOI @sheffield.gov.uk

__________________________________________________
This response contradicts the information provided by DAVID CAULFIELD (SCC Director of Development Services, with overall responsibility for highway trees), via an e-mail from Cllr Nikki Bond (Labour), dated 8th JANUARY, 2016, (see Appendix 22). Mr CAULFIELD stated: “…during year 3 of the project, Amey changed their supply chain agreements from KBM to a local business for supply of the same services, with the new contractor being a Sheffield based company specialising in this kind of work.”**

__________________________________________________
* On 28th DECEMBER, 2015, The Star newspaper reported:

“Coun Fox also said solutions put forward by campaigners were ‘already used’ including FLEXI PAVING WHICH HAS ON 143 OCCASIONS RETAINED TREES. He said any other tree works would have to be assessed to see if they complied with highway legislation, caused RISKS to safety or affected the ‘fixed unitary charge’ paid by the council over the life of the contract.”

“Coun Fox added: ‘We are an open and transparent council…’ ”

SOURCE:

Beardmore, 2015n. Row over Sheffield tree felling set to ramp up in 2016. [Online] Available at: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/row-over-s... [Accessed 28 December 2015].
__________________________________________________

In an e-mail dated 8th JANUARY, 2016 (see Appendix 22), DAVID CAULFIELD stated:

“Having reviewed the situation I discovered that IN FACT FLEXIBLE PAVING IS NOW ROUTINELY USED ACROSS THE CITY AS A TREE RETENTION OPTION – IT WAS USED 142 TIMES IN 2015."**

On 29th OCTOBER, 2015, SORT met with Graham Pell: the Managing Director of KBI UK Ltd (the maker and supplier of Flexi®-Pave). He informed us that he had never been contacted by SCC Highways department or Amey about using Flexi®-Pave on highways in Sheffield, although he did say that other SCC departments have occasionally used it. Mr Pell stated that KBI UK Ltd had never been invited by SCC or Amey to provide materials or services for the Streets Ahead project.**

**SOURCE:

"SORT Letter To The Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29th January, 2016" (pages 98 & 99) - accessible via the following links:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/ne...

http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/res...

The letter also formed part of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was distributed to EVERY COUNCILLOR in the city, on 1st February, 2016, by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal & Governance Resources).

In response to the letter dated 29th January, 2016, Amey quickly cobbled together a “Streets Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategy”. They back-dated it and made it public on 2nd February, 2016. It is NOT a tree strategy. In fact, it is a strategy in name only. Please see the SORT letter for detail.
__________________________________________________

“At the conclusion of the debate it was moved by Councillor Terry Fox, seconded by Councillor Julie Dore, that this Council:-

[…]

d) COMMITS TO BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH THE SHEFFIELD PUBLIC ENSURING ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.”

Source:
THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 3rd FEBRUARY, 2016 can be accessed at the following link, under the sub-heading “Minutes of Previous Council Meetings”:

http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.u...
__________________________________________________

FAILURE TO HONOUR THE COMMITMENT:

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FOI REQUESTS 1259 & 1813

From: Xxxx2
Sent: 01 June 2016 13:58
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review requested for FOI requests 1259 and 1813 and further FOI requests

Re: FOI requests 1259 and 1813

As the originator of the above FOI requests, related to the use of flexible paving in the Streets Ahead programme, I wish to ask for an internal review of the responses I have received regarding these requests.

The reason I am asking for this is that Xxxx1 has received a communication from Mark Knight, Information Management Officer, Sheffield City Council, in which it states,

'At the time of Cllr Fox’s statement, a flexible paving solution had been specified for use around 143 highway trees. However, given that the Council had paused its tree replacement programme pending the outcome of the survey of residents on roads affected by the programme, the flexible paving has still to be used in all of the specified 143 sites.'

In none of the responses I received to my FOI requests did it say that this work had not yet been carried out, yet this must have been known within the council department that provided the information for these FOI requests. Instead, it was stated in their responses that no record is kept of the locations where the work has been completed.

Mr Knight also stated in his reply to Xxxx1,

‘Now that the Council’s tree replacement programme has recommenced on the roads where residents have indicated that they are favour of the tree replacement planned for that road, I can confirm that the use of flexible paving as a measure to retain highway trees.’ (sic)

So, since it seems that they are planning to complete the work not yet done, they must know the locations where work has already been carried out, otherwise how will they know what work is still to be done? It, therefore, seems reasonable to me that they could have explained, in reply to my FOI requests, that all the work had not yet been carried out and told me the locations where flexible paving has been used and would be used when work resumed. Not to have done something that appears so obvious to me might suggest to some that it is a deliberate attempt to be obstructive.

Further, David Caulfield stated in a written response to a question asked by a Sheffield City Councillor,

‘Having reviewed the situation I discovered that in fact flexible paving is now routinely used across the city as a tree retention option – it was used 142 times in 2015.’

I find this very curious, especially since no reference was made to this in the FOI responses given to me although it is obviously relevant to my request.

So, in addition to the internal review, I would like to submit the following FOI requests:

Firstly, I would like to know the locations of the 143 occasions referred to by Councillor Fox where flexible paving has been or will be used (as stated in the response to Alan Robshaw) and which of these is to retain existing, mature highway trees.

Secondly, I would like to know the same details for the 142 occasions in 2015 referred to by David Caulfield. Assuming the work has indeed been carried out, someone surely will have some idea of where these are.

Thank you in anticipation of your response,

Xxxx2

___________________________________________________________________________________________

RESPONSE:

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1813 and 1259

Dear Xxxx2

Thank you for your recent request for a review of the Freedom of Information response provided to you. Your response related to information regarding Suppliers of permeable paving for the Streets Ahead project.

We are sorry to hear that you are not happy with your response.

I am writing to acknowledge your request for a review, which we received on 01/06/2016. This has now been logged and will be carried out by a member of the team.

We will endeavour to provide a response within 20 working days, in this case, by 24/06/2016.

In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact the team on 0114 2734567.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : FOI @sheffield.gov.uk

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FOI REQUESTS 1259 & 1813

Sheffield City Council admit to the misuse and abuse of statistical data: in effect, misleading the public, thereby covering the Council's acts and omissions and gaining positive media outcomes (through spin & deceit). Shocking behaviour on a £2.2bn, city-wide, 25yr PFI project funded by taxpayers (up to £1.2bn from the Department for Transport; the remainder from loans to the Council, so we are told).

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/our-regio...

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/appeal-to-...

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-...
____________________________________________________________

From: Xxxx2
Date: 9 Jun 2016 9:55 am
Subject: Re: Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1813 and 1259
To: "FOI" <FOI@sheffield.gov.uk>
Cc:

Dear FOI team,

Thank you for your acknowledgement of my request for an internal review of the responses I received regarding my FOI requests 1259 and 1813. However, with due respect, the focus of the review is not 'Suppliers of permeable paving for the Streets Ahead project' as you state, but the response I received to FOI 1259. (FOI 1813 was a follow up request from 1259, which was answered adequately.)

The internal review I requested relates to the original answers I was given to FOI 1259, as I clearly outlined in my email of 1st June, 2016.

This related to the locations of the 143 occasions where trees had been retained by the use of flexible paving, stated by Councillor Fox in an article in the Star newspaper on 28th December, 2015.

The response I received implied that Councillor Fox may not have made this claim and that no record is kept of the location of these occasions. Subsequent information, as explained in detail in my request of 1st June 2016, confirmed that this statement was indeed made by Councillor Fox, '143 occasions' was the correct figure, and it is impossible for SCC/Streets Ahead not to know the locations of these occasions.

I also made two further FOI requests. Neither of these has been acknowledged, so I would be grateful if if would let me know whether these have been accepted.

In addition, related to the first of these new FOI requests, I would like to know who the contractors are who will be carrying out the laying of the 'flexible paving' around the mature trees, and what material is to be used? (ie will it be the guarantee-backed, permeable, structurally rigid, breathable, low maintenance, and frost resistant ‘Flexi™-Pave’; which also has proper flexibilty to allow for further root growth without splitting, some other bespoke pavement material or plain old tarmac?)

I look forward to your acknowledgement of my request for an internal review of the response I received for FOI 1259 and the further FOI requests I have made.

Xxxx2

___________________________________________________________________________________________

RESPONSE:

Business Change and Information Solutions
Sheffield City Council, PO Box 1283, Sheffield, S1 1UJ
E-mail: FOI@sheffield.gov.uk
Website: www.sheffield.gov.uk

29th June 2016

Dear Mr Xxxx2,

I am writing in connection with your request for internal review of the Council’s handling of your Freedom of Information request, our reference 1259. We have also considered your other subsequent related requests detailed below.

Your requests noted below related to information held in respect to the use of flexible/ permeable paving around Highway trees. I have carried out an Internal Review of the handling of your requests. Please take this letter as the response to your request for an Internal Review.

The intention of an internal review is to consider if we handled your response in accordance with the law and to consider if any decisions made, for example to refuse information, were correct and still apply.

In my review of the processing of this request I have considered:

• Your original request
• The response to your request
• The information requested
___________________________________________________________

TIME FOR COMPLIANCE

Section 10 – Time for compliance with request ( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000... )

Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act states that Sheffield City Council must respond to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act within 20 working days of receipt. In regard to both of your requests a response was provided within 20 working days, therefore, I am satisfied that Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act was correctly complied with in this case.
____________________________________________________________

THE EXEMPTION(S) WHICH WERE APPLIED TO THE INFORMATION YOU REQUESTED

Section 17 – refusal notice
( http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000... )

Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act requires the Council to state and identify the exemption being applied, together with noting the reasons why the exemption applies. The Council is also required to detail our internal review procedure and highlight the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Your right of appeal was detailed in both of our responses and there was no application of exemptions for your requests
___________________________________________________________

RESPONSE TO FURTHER COMMENTS IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW

Within your request for review you noted some specific concerns as detailed below; where applicable I have provided a response to your comments.

QUOTE:

**** "As the originator of the above FOI requests, related to the use of flexible paving in the Streets Ahead programme, I wish to ask for an internal review of the responses I have received regarding these requests.
The reason I am asking for this is that Xxxx1 has received a communication from Mark Knight, Information Management Officer, Sheffield City Council, in which it states,

'At the time of Cllr Fox’s statement, a flexible paving solution had been specified for use around 143 highway trees. However, given that the Council had paused its tree replacement programme pending the outcome of the survey of residents on roads affected by the programme, the flexible paving has still to be used in all of the specified 143 sites.'

In none of the responses I received to my FOI requests did it say that this work had not yet been carried out, yet this must have been known within the council department that provided the information for these FOI requests. Instead, it was stated in their responses that no record is kept of the locations where the work has been completed." ****

In regard to each of your requests you were provided a response which included the information held at the time of your request as is required by the Act. I have included the wording of the request and associated response below:

1259 – REQUEST RECEIVED 04/01/2016:

I wish to register a FOI request. On Monday, December 28th, 2015, in the Sheffield Star, Councillor Terry Fox was stated as saying "solutions put forward by campaigners were already used including flexi paving which has on 143 occasions retained trees."

I would be grateful if you would let me know the location of these 143 occasions, the date these were used, the actual product that was used on each occasion and the contractors that carried out the work.

RESPONSE SENT 18/01/2016:

“On 28 December 2015, the Sheffield Star printed in its article the following- “Coun Fox also said solutions put forward by campaigners were ‘already used’ including flexi paving which has on 143 occasions retained trees.” The only direct quote from Cllr Fox used by the Sheffield Star was that solutions being put forward by campaigners were “already used”. We have no information relating to flexi-paving being used to retain trees on 143 occasions although we can confirm that the current permeable paving product in use on the Streets Ahead project around trees is “flexi pave”.”

I.e. this highlighted that there was no record of flexi paving being used to retain 143 trees.

1520 – REQUEST RECEIVED 15/02/2016:

Thank you for your reply regarding my recent FoI request. There are, however, a couple of points which I would like clarifying:

SCC state that 'we can confirm that the current permeable paving product in use on the Streets Ahead project around trees is “flexi pave”.'

1) Could you confirm that this is the product registered as "Flexi-pave" manufactured by KBI UK Ltd?
2) I would like to know the locations where flexible paving has been used around trees on the Streets Ahead project.

RESPONSE SENT 14/03/2016:

“1. We can confirm that our contractor Amey did use the brand “Flexi-pave” provided by the supplier KBI at the start of the contract but have now moved to using various local suppliers to provide the permeable paving.

2. We do not hold comprehensive records relating to all of the locations where “Flexi-pave” (or other permeable paving) has been used. However, we are aware that such paving has been used recently on The Moor and on Bowness Road.”

1769 – REQUEST RECEIVED 02/04/2016:

Thank you for your reply to my FOI/1259 request. I'm sorry I'm having to write to you again but I was not precise enough regarding what I was asking for in the second point as I was assuming this carried forward from my first FOI request on this matter. What I should have asked, and what I would really like to know from SCC/Amey, is 'Can you provide locations where flexible paving has been used to retain existing highway trees'. The flexible paving used in the locations given in response to my previous request, ie the Moor and Bowness Road, is around newly planted trees and, in the case of the Moor, this cannot be regarded as a highway.

I would, therefore, be grateful if you could find the answer to the question:
Can you provide locations where flexible paving has been used to retain existing highway trees (ie not newly planted trees).

RESPONSE SENT 27/04/2016:

“Flexi Pave has been prescribed as a footway surface treatment solution around highway trees a total of 143 times on the Highway network around trees (both around existing and new tree planting).

Examples of flexi pave used around existing highway trees can be seen on The Moor in the city centre.

Examples of use around newly planted highway trees can be seen on sites such as Bowness Road.

We do not hold any other records on our Management Information System of any other sites where a completed flexi pave installation can be viewed at this time.”

1813 – REQUEST RECEIVED 12/04/2016:

Further to the response I was given to my FOI/1259 request, point 1 states that "our contractor Amey did use the brand “Flexi-pave” provided by the supplier KBI at the start of the contract but have now moved to using various local suppliers to provide the permeable paving."

I would be grateful if you could tell me who the local suppliers are who have provided permeable paving for the Streets Ahead project.

RESPONSE SENT 28/04/2016:

“We can advise that the flexible paving was provided and installed by AMK fencing.”
____________________________________________________________

When dealing with FOI requests the Council is required to provide a response detailing the specific information held by the Council which relates to the wording used by the requestor. Our responses have provided the information/ answers we held at the time of each request. You note that you feel the Council did not confirm that flexi paving work has not occurred to the 143 tree quoted above. In the response to FOI 1259 we confirmed the following: We have no information relating to flexi-paving being used to retain trees on 143 occasions. The framing of the questions did not require confirmation in the manner you’ve noted here; the intention was to flexi pave as per our later correspondence with Mr Xxxx1.

QUOTE:

**** "Mr Knight also stated in his reply to Xxxx1,

‘Now that the Council’s tree replacement programme has recommenced on the roads where residents have indicated that they are favour of the tree replacement planned for that road, I can confirm that the use of flexible paving as a measure to retain highway trees.’ (sic)

So, since it seems that they are planning to complete the work not yet done, they must know the locations where work has already been Carried out, otherwise how will they know what work is still to be done? It, therefore, seems reasonable to me that they could have explained, in reply to my FOI requests, that all the work had not yet been carried out and told me the locations where flexible paving has been used and would be used when work resumed. Not to have done something that appears so obvious to me might suggest to some that it is a deliberate attempt to be obstructive." ****

As noted above we have provided a response to the request made detailing the information held at the time. We also noted we did not have comprehensive records on the location of trees where flexi paving had been used; providing details of the relevant locations where records where held. In regard to the text in the response to FOI 1769 we confirmed “Flexi Pave has been prescribed as a footway surface treatment solution around highway trees a total of 143 times on the Highway network around trees (both around existing and new tree planting).” In this case the term "prescribed" does not mean or infer it has been physically used but that it had been linked as a suitable solution for that number of trees.

It appears there has been some confusion in the terms of the wording used in the Press, by Council officers and in part in the FOI responses to your requests. The intention is of course not to confuse members of the public or FOI requestors but the semantics of wording and their interpretation can sometimes not be received in the context intended. In this case the term “used” has been incorrectly applied to the information held. The flexi pave solution has not been “used” on 143 trees it has in fact been prescribed for use with 143 trees, but this activity had not concluded when the requests where received.

QUOTE:

**** "Further, David Caulfield stated in a written response to a question asked by a Sheffield City Councillor,

‘Having reviewed the situation I discovered that in fact flexible paving is now routinely used across the city as a tree retention option – it was used 142 times in 2015.’

I find this very curious, especially since no reference was made to this in the FOI responses given to me although it is obviously relevant to my request." ****

In response to FOI 1259 we responded: “We have no information relating to flexi-paving being used to retain trees on 143 occasions”. In this case the term “used” has been quoted incorrectly and should have said “prescribed”. The 142 figure appears to have been stated incorrectly and should have matched the 143 figure previously provided.

QUOTE:
**** "So, in addition to the internal review, I would like to submit the following FOI requests:

Firstly, I would like to know the locations of the 143 occasions referred to by Councillor Fox where flexible paving has been or will be used (as stated in the response to Xxxx1) and which of these is to retain existing, mature highway trees." ****

Sheffield City Council does not hold this information. We can confirm that flexi paving is frequently used as a part of the specific Streets Ahead highway maintenance programme. However, we do not hold a record of the locations of the sites where its use has led to a tree being retained. In our response to 1769 (as quoted above) we confirmed some specific site locations where such solutions had been used. The Council does not currently hold a definitive list of trees where flexi-pave solutions will be used. Some trees have been identified where the solution is prescribed; however, this is only potential use and does not account for any further assessment on the site and whether the solution is appropriate for application in each site. As a result of the suspension of Highway tree works, activity to identify prescribed locations where flexi-pave solution will be used has not occurred. Subsequently no such list of locations exists pending further assessments of related trees.

QUOTE:
**** "Secondly, I would like to know the same details for the 142 occasions in 2015 referred to by David Caulfield. Assuming the work has indeed been carried out, someone surely will have some idea of where these are" ****

This number relates to the same trees identified in the remainder of this response and the 142 number appears to have been incorrectly noted and should have been consistent with the 143 previously quoted.

In a further email to the Council on the 9th June 2016 you noted the following:

**** "In addition, related to the first of these new FOI requests, I would like to know who the contractors are who will be carrying out the laying of the 'flexible paving' around the mature trees, and what material is to be used? (ie will it be the guarantee-backed, permeable, structurally rigid, breathable, low maintenance, and frost resistant ‘Flexi™-Pave’; which also has proper flexibilty to allow for further root growth without splitting, some other bespoke pavement material or plain old tarmac?)" ****

As I am sure you are aware Sheffield City Council has a PFI contract with Amey Hallam Highways Ltd for the delivery of a complete highway maintenance service which includes Highways Trees. As a result it will be Amey that complete any associated works or their own subcontractors. The material that will be used on all 143 prescribed sites, if deemed suitable for this solution, will be flexi pave TM. We cannot provide any assurances whatsoever as to the longevity of this product, nor should installation of this product be taken as a guarantee of the trees in question being retained in perpetuity.

I am sure you can appreciate that the Council has been under unprecedented scrutiny in regard to highway trees. This has included media interest, pressure groups, legal action and associated requests for information all of which have meant staff and councillors have been under very high levels demand.

***IT APPEARS THAT SOME COMMENTARY HAS NOT BEEN ACCURATE, IN TERMS OF THE LANGUAGE USED, BUT PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN THE COUNCIL’S INTENTION TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC; ***

in fact we have attempted to be OPEN and TRANSPARENT with the highways tree maintenance processes and related tree survey PROCESS to retain engagement with the public on this matter.
____________________________________________________________

REVIEW DECISION - CONCLUSION

Taking the above into account, I am satisfied that you requests have been handled correctly and in accordance with the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you are entitled to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office and they will consider whether your complaint is eligible for further review. The Information Commissioner’s details and guidance is available on the website at www.ico.org.uk .

Kind regards

Mark

Mark Knight
Information Management Officer
Information and Knowledge Management
Business Change & Information Solutions (BCIS)
Sheffield City Council
PO Box 1283 Sheffield S1 1UJ
www.sheffield.gov.uk

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FLEXI®-PAVE - SCC / AMEY IGNORANCE & DECEIT

It was at the meeting of full Council on 1st FEBRUARY, 2017 (when the SAVE RIVELIN VALLEY TREES Sheffield Tree Action Group presented their 6,160 signature petition: 4,074 signatures online; 2,086 on paper) that the Cabinet Member for Environment (Cllr Bryan Lodge) announced:

“Mr Carr asked about Flexi®-Pave and WHETHER I HAVE MET WITH PEOPLE FROM FLEXI®-PAVE YET. […]
*** WE’VE NOT MANAGED TO ARRANGE A MEETING YET,*** with diaries to fit things in, but I know some dates have been put forward and I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
[…]
*** Err, ONCE I’VE HAD THE MEETING, I’M HAPPY TO DISCUSS THE OUTCOME OF THAT MEETING, ERR, WITH ANYBODY WHO IS INTERESTED in there,*** and I’ll put that information out there to people, when I’ve met with them, AND I’LL LET PEOPLE KNOW, ERR, THE OUTCOME OF THE MEETING.
I’d rather be talking to people than relying on press releases, but *** I’M HAPPY TO DISCUSS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS CONTRACT IF PEOPLE ASK ME *** and I meet with people on a regular basis.
[…]
***…FLEXI®-PAVE AS A – AS A –PRODUCT HAS NOT BEEN USED ON THE STREETS AHEAD CONTRACT. ***
[…]
FLEXIBLE PAVING SOLUTIONS have been used because flexible paving actually includes THE USE OF ASPHALT, so flexible paving solutions have been used there, err, but FLEXI®-PAVE ITSELF HAS NOT BEEN USED YET.”

Previously, in 2015, SCC had agreed to arrange to meet the Managing Director of the business that supplies FLEXI®-PAVE (see the SORT letter dated 29th January 2016 [pages 99; 353 & 365-367): http://bit.ly/2dGxO01 ). There have been and continue to be repeated promises from SCC & Amey that felling is “always a last resort” and that they “want to explore all options” before recommending the felling of any healthy, structurally sound street tree.

***
At the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2/9/2015) from SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance (Steve Robinson) stated that EXCAVATIONS, ALTERNATIVE SURFACING, AND RAMPING ARE ALL “SOLUTIONS” THAT ARE WITHIN THE STREETS AHEAD CONTRACT AND CAN BE USED “AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE COUNCIL”. He said:

“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 that engineering and tree-based solutions are highway maintenance solutions”
[…]
“IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a last resort”.

***
On 7th DECEMBER, 2016 SCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment (Cllr Bryan Lodge) promised that SCC would arrange a meeting with a representative from the supplier of FLEXI®-PAVE:

“Mr Carr, err, talked about Flexi®-Pave, err, and use of Flexi®-Pave. Actually, I’ve done a lot of, I’ve done lots of looking at it…
*** So, I HAVE INSTRUCTED OFFICERS TO GET IN TOUCH WITH PEOPLE FROM FLEXI®-PAVE, to talk about having a rethink with Flexi®-Pave.” ***

Source:
Stocksbridge Community Forum (online):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FLEXI®-PAVE - SCC / AMEY IGNORANCE & DECEIT

• 20th APRIL 2017

*****
THE SCC RESPONSE TO FOI REQUEST FOI /36

(To aid interpretation, inverted commas have been inserted around the quote of the original request. Also, square brackets have been inserted to identify the response to each of the questions the Information Officer chose to respond to).

*****
From: "FOI" <FOI@sheffield.gov.uk>
To: Xxxx
Sent: Thursday, 20 April, 2017 11:51:30 AM
Subject: Response – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /36
Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /36

Dear Xxxx,

Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Details of Council meeting with KBI UK Ltd regarding Flexi™-Pave which we received on 07/04/2017.

Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:

“At the full Council meeting on 7th December, he stated that he would be instructing Officers to contact representatives of Flexi™-Pave to discuss its potential use for circumstances pertaining to the retention of mature street trees where roots had caused footways to ramp.
I wish to know;

1) if this took place;
[We can confirm ***** NO SUCH MEETING WITH A SUPPLIER OF FLEXIBLE PAVING MATERIALS HAS TAKEN PLACE. ***** The meeting is still in the process of being arranged.]

2) what was the outcome”,
[No information held.]

I hope the information we have provided is of help to your enquiries. If you have any queries about this response, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are unhappy with the response you have received in relation to your request, you are entitled to have this reviewed. You can ask for an internal review by either writing to the above address or by emailing FOI@sheffield.gov.uk.

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of your internal review, you can contact the Information Commissioners Office. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone 0303 123 1113, or for further details see their website www.ico.org.uk

Kind Regards,

Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : FOI @sheffield.gov.uk

*****
Source:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

*****

ALSO SEE THE FOLLOWING:

“LETTER: From SCCs Chief Executive - OVER 4yrs IN TO A £2.2 bn PROJECT & NO ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS DRAFTED”:

https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

&
CRITERIA USED TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO FELL (INCLUDING EXCERPTS FROM DAVE CAULFIELD'S WITNESS STATEMENT TO THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE):

https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

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