FOI request - Engineering solutions

Ian Dalton 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.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Sheffield City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Sheffield City Council,
I would like to request a full list of locations where any of the 14 "engineering solutions" have been used in relation to street trees and highway repairs.

Yours faithfully,
Ian Dalton

FOI, Sheffield City Council

RE: Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear Ian Dalton,
 
Thank you for your request for information regarding Location List for
Application of 14 Engineering Solutions which we received on 16/10/17.
 
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.
 
Before we can begin to process your Freedom of Information Request, we
would like to clarify what information you require.
 
In regard to your request can you please clarify over what timescale you
are hoping to obtain information? We believe that your request is focused
on the specific use of engineering solution to retain street trees.
This is an initial clarification and we may need to come back to you at a
later date if we need to re-clarify any elements of the information you’ve
requested when we are locating the relevant data. We do ask individuals to
be specific in regard to the information they wish to obtain to allow
appropriate assessment and processing of their request which is completed
at public expense.
 
The Freedom of Information Act states that we must respond to a Freedom of
Information request within 20 working days, however, the 20 working days
do not include any time spent clarifying a request.  Therefore, once we
have received your clarification, we can continue processing your request
within this time frame.
 
You can provide your clarification by writing to the address above,
emailing [1][Sheffield City Council request email] or by telephoning 0114 2734567 and asking
for the Information and Knowledge Management Team.
 
We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 2 North Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [2]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Ian Dalton [[3]mailto:[FOI #438934 email]]
Sent: 16 October 2017 16:23
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - FOI request - Engineering
solutions
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
I would like to request a full list of locations where any of the 14
"engineering solutions" have been used in relation to street trees and
highway repairs.
 
Yours faithfully,
Ian Dalton
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
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Dear FOI,

I would like to know full details (location, type of solution, cost etc) of all engineering solutions implemented since the beginning of the Streets Ahead contract with Amey.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Dalton

FOI, Sheffield City Council

RE: Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear Ian Dalton,
 
Thank you for your request for information regarding Location List for
Application of 14 Engineering Solutions which we received on 17/10/17.
 
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 14/11/17.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact us on the number
below.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 2 North Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [1][Sheffield City Council request email]
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
_____________________________________________
From: Ian Dalton [[2]mailto:[FOI #438934 email]]
Sent: 17 October 2017 15:13
To: FOI
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear FOI,
 
I would like to know full details (location, type of solution, cost etc) 
of all engineering solutions implemented since the beginning of the
Streets Ahead contract with Amey.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Ian Dalton
 

FOI, Sheffield City Council

RE: Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear Ian Dalton,
 
Thank you for your request for information regarding Location List for
Application of 14 Engineering Solutions which we received on 17/10/17.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
Thank you for your FOI request requesting full details (location, type of
solution, cost etc)  of all engineering solutions implemented since the
beginning of the Streets Ahead contract with Amey.
 
Where trees can be retained by the application of engineering solution,
these work are undertaken as part of the Highway Maintenance contract and
the tree remains insitu. Details of the work undertaken around such trees
is not recorded in an electronically searchable format and we are,
therefore, unable to provide the information requested.
 
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 2 North 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

Dear Sheffield City Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's handling of my FOI request 'FOI request - Engineering solutions'.

I do not understand how a local authority can carry out highway maintenance work without creating some kind of traceable record for it. Local authorities have a duty to remain transparent and accountable which means keeping clear records of everything they do. Given that the ICO is currently investigating you for a similar FOI request that you failed to supply a satisfactory answer to, I hope that you treat my request seriously and aim to provide a satisfactory answer. Why it took you 4 weeks to inform me of this paltry response I do not know. I look forward to receiving a full response to my request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Ian Dalton

Mr Long left an annotation ()

Numerous times, SCC have asserted that any tree not felled has been retained by using one of the options from their list of 25 ideas. The list originally consisted of twenty ideas. Those were first made public during a meeting of full council, in Sheffield Town Hall, on 1st July 2015, when SCC "debated" the Save Our Rustlings Trees (SORT) petition. Prior to producing the list, SCC & Amey had spent two months inviting SORT to provide a range of alternative highway engineering specifications that could be used as to retain those mature street trees that are associated with damage to the built environment (in particular, footway damage and dislodged kerb edging). Rather than provide their own range of alternative highway engineering specifications, as evidence to support their assertion that "felling is always a last resort", SCC & Amey wilfully ignored all requests to see such evidence. They continued inviting the public to provide ideas. At the second (most recent) meeting of the "bi-monthly Highway Tree Advisory Forum (HTAF 2) , on 2nd September 2015, Steve Robinson - SCC Head of Highway Maintenance - added five more options to the list of ideas. Since than, the Information Commissioner, the SCC Chief Executive (John Mothersole) & the SCC Executive Director for Place (Simon Green) have confirmed that NO ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS HAVE EVER BEEN COMMISSIONED OR DRAFTED for consideration for use as a means to retain existing mature street trees, even though the Streets Ahead project is a £2.2bn city-wide project and Amey have been fined over £2m for neglect to complete works in an appropriate manner with the level of care that can be expected of reasonably skilled professionals.

Rather than enforce compliance with the range of widely accepted, nationally recognised, good practice guidance and recommendations that Amey & SCC claim to use and apply, SCC & Amey chose to whip up fear of liability, as a means to drum up support for the mass felling of thousands of healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees - trees associated with minor damage to the built environment.

To quote from page 51 of the SORT letter to the SCC Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox: Labour), dated 29th January 2016:

"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.'”

In Freedom of Information request response FOI/423, Streets Ahead has admitted:

‘WE DO NOT CARRY OUT A RISK ASSESSMENT AS PART OF OUR REVIEW OF TREES.’

This was in response to the request:

‘Under the FOI act, I request a copy of the risk assessment for the trees that are proposed to be felled on Rustlings Road please’.

_________________________________________________________

To Quote SCC's Steve Robinson, at HTAF 2:

"Thirteen is Heavy tree crown reduction or pollarding to stunt tree growth. Erm, this isn't an option that we would, err recommend, as, err, there's an area there, on Carfield Avenue, erm, and trees don't look very good at all, compared to trees in other areas. Erm, this option has a flaw, in that it doesn't deal with root and footway surface issues. So, not only would this distort the natural form of the tree, it would only be a temporary measure, as the tree would eventually return to its natural form and size.

***Err, WE DON'T USE POLLARDING OR HEAVY CROWN-REDUCTION IN STREETS AHEAD, ***
as they are regarded as being bad for the condition and long-term health of the tree, and increase the risk of branch and limb failure to the general public, and there's a likelihood of increased decay and disease as damage to the tree"

_________________________________________________________

SUSTAINABILITY

The current SCC Cabinet Member for Sustainability & Transport is Cllr Jack Scott.

Previously, as Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene, in an e-mail to me, dated 5th APRIL, 2014 (over a year in to the £2.2bn Streets Ahead project), he informed:

"WE DO NOT presently HAVE A STRATEGY solely for trees.
My view is TAT [sic] 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. ”

Extracts From The Save The Trees Of Millhouses Petition Speech, Presented by Phil Yates, At The Meeting of Full Council Held in Sheffield Town Hall (on 5th July 2017. 1,671 signatures)

Mr Yates:

“MILLHOUSES HAS SOME OF THE MOST POLLUTED AREAS IN SHEFFIELD and the residents feel that we need all the mature street trees we have to combat. SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL HAS A STATUTORY DUTY TO MANAGE LOCAL AIR QUALITY, UNDER THE ENVIRONMENT ACT 1995. And, since this came in, and since 2010, the legal average for the year is 40 micrograms per cubic metre. That value shouldn’t ever, ever drop to below [he meant rise above, not fall below] the safe legal limit. Recent research shows that PLANTING TREES ALONGSIDE ROADS WOULD REDUCE NO2 [nitrogen dioxide], AND RETAINING TREES WOULD HELP REDUCE THIS AS WELL. In May 2017, it was widely publicised that around the city there are dangerously high levels of air pollution. And then, on the 6th June, it was National Clean Air [day] - there was NOTHING on the Council website, at all. I, and many of the residents of Millhouses, do not think that the Council is taking their responsibility under this environmental air Act seriously at all.
[…]
We, the people of Millhouses, wish to KEEP OUR HEALTHY, MATURE STREET TREES, WHICH HELP REDUCE DANGEROUSLY HIGH LEVELS OF POLLUTION in the air. We acknowledge that many people do not have perfect pavements but that is preferable to the increasing levels of respiratory disease.”

***
Cllr Jack Scott (SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR SUSTAINABILITY & TRANSPORT):

“YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT TO SAY THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS SITUATION. To quote: 600 DEATHS IN SHEFFIELD EACH YEAR and 40,000 deaths occur each year across the country as well, for poor air quality. This administration is very, very clear that it is A FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE rather than a technical or information issue. Erm, and we’ve also been extremely clear, I think, that we need more time to debate in Parliament.
[…]
I do need to be honest with you as well. The whole issue regarding air quality isn’t to do with trees. I know it’s what your’e saying, but the implication that the removal - the replacement – of Sheffield’s street trees – a small number of Sheffield’s street trees* - is damaging our air quality is fundamentally sky, and I agree completely about that. THERE ARE 36,000 STREET TREES IN OUR CITY. WE CAN DOUBLE THAT; WE CAN TRIPLE THAT – IT WOULD HAVE A NEGLIGIBLE IMPACT ON THE AIR QUALITY AND KEEPING SHEFFIELD GREEN.

Across our whole city, there are in fact four million trees – that has A SUBSTANTIVE IMPACT ON AIR QUALITY. The real challenges, I’m afraid – THE SOLUTIONS TO POOR AIR QUALITY – THEY’RE NOT EASY, THEY’RE NOT SIMPLE, THEY’RE NOT CHEAP, AND MANY OF THEM ARE NOT POPULAR, err, but no administrations before this champion improvement in air quality. We take it hugely seriously. We are the only Council in the entire country, for example, to move a school – I have to say, in the face of some significant local opposition – on the basis, substantively, of poor air quality. So, TREES DO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY BUT, ACTUALLY, THE ANSWER ISN’T TO, ERR, PLANT MORE TREES.

The answer is to take much more robust action on vehicles – on diesel engines in particular. We’ve all gone on to introduce a, err, car scrappage scheme of the type which they’ve not had before. I AGREE WITH ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING COUNCILLOR LODGE HAS SAID ABOUT STREET TREES and I hope I’ve given you a flavour, err, of the passion that we have in this administration in terms of green air quality. And I really hope, as well, that we are able to harness some of the undoubted energies and passions of the street tree issue, as a business, and focus that and use it to help improve air quality in the future.”

[a third to half the population = 10,000 to 18,000 mature trees]

Minutes of the meeting can be accessed via the SCC website, using this link:
http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieList...

(Scroll down to item 11: “Minutes Of Previous Council Meeting”)

For further information, see the following letters and associated notes & references:

COST OF SUSTAINABILITY:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

TREES & HAZARD MANAGEMENT:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

DANGEROUS HIGHWAY TREES:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

STREET TREE MASSACRE - a response to Cllr Peter Price:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

"THE GREAT SHEFFIELD CHAINSAW MASSACRE
– A Response to Louise Haigh MP" (published in The Star):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

STEVE ROBINSON:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

QUOTES FROM THE AMEY OPERATIONS DIRECTOR RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROVISION OF 25 YEARS OF HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE THROUGHOUT SHEFFIELD

The Operations Director is Darren Butt. The following quotes are extracts from the aforementioned SORT letter.

"Darren Butt (Operations Director for Amey) was also on the panel at the Crosspool Forum. He commented:

'Amey has – you have to understand that Amey, and the authority, have other issues to address, other than just the tree and its longevity and its location. Unfortunately, WE TAKE ALL THE RISK as well, so, whilst the independent consultant can advise the tree can be retained for a number more years, then there’s, sort of equally, there’s a number of caveats... UNFORTUNATELY, THE RISK SITS WITH ME, NOT THE AUTHORITY*. So that tree is, at the moment, earmarked for removal.'"
(SOURCE: page 37 of the SORT letter)

"On 17th November 2015, at the Amey Roadshow in Heeley, Darren Butt (Amey’s Operations Director for the £2.2bn city-wide Streets Ahead project) said that “pavement ridging” and disturbance of kerb alignment was unacceptable. However, he mentioned that his arboricultural team had worked with Graeme Symonds’s (Amey’s Core Investment Project Director*) highway construction team to develop a range of alternative highway engineering specifications for footway and kerb construction, which Amey use and which the Council have not mentioned or made available to the public, and which could enable the safe, long-term retention of mature trees.

MR BUTT WAS VERY DEROGATORY ABOUT THE COUNCIL’S TWENTY-FIVE 'STREETS AHEAD ENGINEERING OPTIONS' (APPENDIX 17), COMPLETELY DISMISSING THEM (USING AN EXPLETIVE [“BOLLOCKS”] TO DESCRIBE THEM).

IF AMEY DO HAVE ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS, AS MR BUTT CLAIMS THEY DO, THEY ARE THE ONES THAT SORT HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY REQUESTING TO SEE SINCE MAY, 2015, AS EVIDENCE THAT FELLING IS A LAST RESORT (see Appendices 6 & 20).

SORT are most disappointed that, to date, all such requests have been totally ignored and that Streets Ahead did not use the opportunity at the second HTAF meeting to present the alternative highway engineering specifications that Darren Butt now asserts that Amey do have and use, instead of the twenty-five 'Streets Ahead engineering options'."
(SOURCE: page 42 of the SORT letter)

"At Crosspool Forum Annual General Meeting, on 29th October, in reference to one three mature veteran Ash trees scheduled for felling in Crosspool – a local landmark tree (a pollard) - Darren Butt stated:

'The first tree is on Lydgate Lane and Marsh Lane, on the crossroad – on the junction. Err, but that one has been earmarked for removal, due to STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY ISSUES. If you look at the crown of the tree, sometime back, it must have been heavily topped, with the whole crown probably removed at that time, and, since then, we’ve now got re-growth – quite substantial regrowth – on those, erm, those structural limbs. The problem is, you’ve now got decay, where it was previously cut. So, that decay will continue and, as THE BRANCHES GROW, AND THE WEIGHT OF THOSE NEW BRANCHES FORMS, THERE ARE VERY WEAK UNIONS THERE, where the branches join to the major trunk of the tree. Erm, obviously, as the wind, and everything else, picks up, that’s when you [sic] considerable STRAIN ON THOSE LIMBS, and they will snap. That tree is earmarked and WILL BE REMOVED, DUE TO THOSE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY ISSUES and the RISK of them.'
(SOURCE: page 168 of the SORT letter)

“CREDIBILITY: COMPETENCE

On 23rd July, 2015, at the inaugural meeting of the Highway Trees Advisory Forum, Darren Butt (Operations Director for Amey) commented:

‘ALL MY STAFF WERE PREVIOUSLY PREVIOUSLY SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL, in terms of our Tree Officers. THEY ARE ALL QUALIFIED TO DEGREE LEVEL, and many continue to develop and further their skills. […] THEY DO GO FELLING AS A LAST RESORT; they are in the profession of safeguarding trees of Sheffield.They are in a difficult position, because of the underinvestment in Sheffield over, you know, numerous years, which we have to address’

At Crosspool Forum Annual General Meeting, on 29th October, Darren Butt sat on the forum panel, along with another representative from Amey: Claire Tideswell (Streets Ahead ‘Apprise’ of current highways program). Mr Butt was present to explain why and how Jeremy Willis (the Amey Operations Manager for Streets Ahead) had decided that there was no other option but to fell three mature Ash trees, each estimated to be ~250 years old (see Appendix 18).

MR BUTT WAS ASKED WHY RISK ASSESSMENTS FOR TREES ARE NOT DONE. The questioner said:

‘We know they are not done, because there has been a Freedom of Information request and Streets Ahead have responded saying they do not do risk assessments as part of their survey of trees.’

Mr Butt’s response was:

‘In terms of, err, assessment, WE DO HAVE A NUMBER OF QUALIFIED ARBORISTS who work for us. They were previously with the City Council before but came across to Amey at the start of the contract. […] THEY DO UNDERTAKE A THOROUGH TREE HEALTH SURVEY of those trees prior to the recommendation to the Local Authority.’

‘So, IN TERMS OF RISK ASSESSMENT, OUR ARBORICULTURISTS DO AN ASSESSMENT of the tree; the risk of that tree, and the potential failure throughout that tree.

A FORMAL RISK ASSESSMENT IS CARRIED OUT.’

UNFORTUNATELY, MR BUTT DID NOT PROVIDE ANY FURTHER DETAIL OR EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT HIS ASSERTIONS. On 17th November, 2015, at the Amey’s Streets Ahead “Roadshow”, in Heeley, there was sufficient opportunity for Mr Butt to provide a bit more detail.

At the roadshow, Mr Butt was asked to define exactly which method/s of assessment, procedures and what techniques are used for a “thorough tree health survey”, and for hazard assessment and risk assessment. Given that Amey were over three years in to a £2.2bn PFI contract that includes management of the city-wide highway tree population, these questions seemed entirely reasonable. However, MR BUTT DID NOT HAVE ANY ANSWERS.

MR BUTT SAID THAT WHAT HE WAS REFERRING TO WHEN HE MENTIONED A “THOROUGH TREE HEALTH SURVEY” IS THE ROLLING PROGRAMME OF HIGHWAY TREE INSPECTION THAT AMEY INITIATED AT THE START OF THE PFI CONTRACT, IN 2012.” [a survey completed by ACORN: a firm Amey also employs to fell the trees they recommended for felling]
(SOURCE: pages 69 & 70 of the SORT letter)

____________________________________________________________

OTHER BROKEN PROMISES:

“In an e-mail (Ref: 101002355831) dated 16th December, 2015 (see Appendix 11), Jeremy Willis (the Amey Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead project) stated:

‘ONE OF THE AIMS OF THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT IS TO RETAIN HEALTHY TREES WHEREVER POSSIBLE.
…A NEW TREE CAN NEVER REPLACE A MATURE SPECIMEN’

In an e-mail (Ref: 101002267244) dated 23rd October, 2015 (see Appendix 18), Jeremy Willis stated:

‘Firstly, I would like to stress that WE ARE NOT REMOVING ANY TREES UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. […]

…there is no financial gain for Amey to remove trees. In fact the opposite is true, as it IS MORE COSTLY TO FELL AND REPLACE A TREE
THAN MAINTAIN IT in the current position.’ ”
(SOURCE: page 39 of the SORT letter)

__________________________________________________________

EXTRACTS FROM AN EARLIER SORT LETTER, DATED 14th July 2015

“Amey’s Jeremy Willis - Operations Manager for Grounds and Arboriculture - is also reported to have said:

‘The Highway has to meet Highways STANDARDS ACCORDING TO THE HIGHWAYS ACT and so for us to get them up to STANDARD, there are trees causing that damage that need to be removed.’

‘There is a reason there. WE CAN’T NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT – we have a legal responsibility.’
(Beardmore, 2015a, p. 9)”
(SOURCE: page 16 of the earlier SORT letter)

“With reference to the Melbourne Road veteran Oak:

‘JEREMY WILLIS, operations manager for grounds and arboriculture AT AMEY, SAID: “That tree is a really good example because it looked absolutely perfect – but THE TRUTH WAS IT COULD HAVE FALLEN AT ANY TIME.”

‘…MR WILLIS SAID: “The danger was that IT COULD HAVE FALLEN DOWN AND WE DIDN’T KNOW WHEN. It could have fallen that day, it could have stood up for another two or three years but ONCE WE HAVE IDENTIFIED THAT RISK WE CAN’T JUST WALK AWAY FROM IT.”
(Beardmore, 2015a, p. 8)”
(SOURCE: pages 24 & 25 of the earlier SORT letter)

You can learn more about the Melbourne Rd Oak (a nominee for the first Great Trees Of Sheffield competition) here:

http://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sit...

http://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sit...

_______________________________________________________

The SORT letters can be accessed via the following links:

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

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

LODGE: A COMPLAINT
(a letter to The Star newspaper, dated 20th May 2016)

Dear Editor,

Amey, the PFI contractor for the £2.2bn Streets Ahead Highway maintenance project, has permission to fell 50% of Sheffield’s mature highway trees (18,000 trees). Sheffield Tree Action Groups have noted that the acts and omissions of Sheffield City Council (SCC) and the Streets Ahead team (SA) do not comply with current good practice. The appointment of Cllr Bryan Lodge as the new Cabinet Member for Environment should be an opportunity for positive change, but he has stated that felling will continue according to schedule. A conservative estimate, provided by SA, is that 100 mature highway trees per month will be felled. Most will be felled for one or more of the following reasons: kerb damage; footway damage; severe damage is expected when Amey inappropriately use a planing machine on the footway.

Cllr Lodge has offered to meet citizens, individually, and has stated that the felling survey questionnaire and Independent Tree Panel (ITP), set up by his predecessor (Cllr Fox), will continue. Between December 2015 and 13th May 2016, the ITP & questionnaire cost the Council £40,954.86. As Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) has correctly pointed out, these things are entirely inappropriate and inadequate for addressing the matters that they have raised: use for that purpose certainly does not comply with current good practice.

The survey and ITP will not address any of the matters raised by SORT, nor can they help ensure that policy & decision making is soundly based on available evidence and not unduly influenced by transitory or exaggerated opinions. Money could and should be used to commission competent arboricultural and highway engineering consultants to draught alternative highway engineering specifications, as SORT have repeatedly advised for over ten months. Their use would allow the Council to fulfil all duties imposed upon it by legislation and enable the safe long-term retention of many mature trees. The legislation only requires that the Council do that which is reasonable and proportionate. Compliance with current good practice, including a strategic approach to policy and decision making, with balanced assessments, undertaken by competent people, is the best way to achieve that.

Previously, Amey and the Council have stated that, whatever they do, they will be criticised and that independent professionals are not bound by the same legislation, so there will always be a difference of opinion about what should happen. That is used as a reason to continue with a “business as usual” approach.

With the exception of the Highways Act, all arboricultural professionals are bound by the same legislation. Current good practice guidance and recommendations, as detailed in the range of documents that SORT have quoted from and referenced in their letters, exist to help ensure that legal duties are fulfilled and that acts and omissions are adequate, balanced, proportionate and defendable.

In the 2006/2007 independent survey report for highway trees, Elliott Consultancy Ltd advised the Council to have a tree strategy to guide and inform policy and decision makers. Had the Council bothered to honour its six year old policy commitment to have a tree strategy, it could have avoided being taken advantage of by PFI contractors and would have been able to evidence compliance with the range of current good practice they claim to comply with and aim to “build on”.

It is time the Council did something more than just hear what people have to say. It is time they listened and put in place adequate steps to help ensure that their acts and omissions do comply with current, nationally recognised, widely accepted good practice.

Cllr Lodge can start by honouring the Council’s commitment (as of 3rd February 2016) to be:

“…open and transparent with the Sheffield public ensuring all relevant information is available in the public domain.”

I look forward to seeing a response to the SORT letter (dated 29th January 2016).

D.Long (Arboriculturist & Urban Forester)

_________________________________________________________

The pitiful SCC response to the SORT letter, provided by the SCC Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene (Cllr Bryan LODGE: Cllr Fox’s successor), was as follows:

“From: Bryan.Lodge@sheffield.gov.uk
To: SORT
Subject: Re: Response to SORT letter?
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:19:14 +0000

xxx,
I have read your submission and noted the contents and your concerns.

NO FURTHER RESPONSE WILL BE FORTHCOMING AS I FEEL THE POINTS WERE COVERED IN THE DECISION NOTICE FROM THE RECENT COURT CASE.

Regards,
CLLR BRYAN LODGE

CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT”

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

THE LATEST

Really, this FOI request has already been dealt with, elsewhere. To see what the Information Commissioner has had to say, see the following:

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

(OR here: https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.... )

&
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

Also, see the SAVE OUR ROADSIDE TREES (SORT) NEWS UPDATE (8th November 2016):
https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-...

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear Mr Dalton
 
Thank you for your recent request for a review of the Freedom of
Information response provided to you.  Your response related to
information regarding Location List for
Application of 14 Engineering Solutions.
 
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 16/11/2017.  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 14/12/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact the team on 0114
2734567.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 2 North Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [1]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Ian Dalton [[2]mailto:[FOI #438934 email]]
Sent: 16 November 2017 04:30
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - FOI request -
Engineering solutions
 
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.
 
I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'FOI request - Engineering solutions'.
 
I do not understand how a local authority can carry out highway
maintenance work without creating some kind of traceable record for it. 
Local authorities have a duty to remain transparent and accountable which
means keeping clear records of everything they do. Given that the ICO is
currently investigating you for a similar FOI request that you failed to
supply a satisfactory answer to,  I hope that you treat my request
seriously and aim to provide a satisfactory answer. Why it took you 4
weeks to inform me of this paltry response I do not know. I look forward
to receiving a full response to my request.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Ian Dalton
 
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #438934 email]
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[5]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 

show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Dalton,
 
Please find attached a copy of my internal review of your Freedom of
Information request. Please accept my apologies for the protracted delay
in response to this review, as noted in the response we have unfortunately
been significantly delayed in providing internal review responses.
 
 
Kind regards
 
Mark
 
Mark Knight
Information Management Officer
Business Change and Information Solutions (BCIS)
Resources Portfolio, Sheffield City Council
Email: [1][email address]
Postal Address: Sheffield City Council,  PO Box 1283, Sheffield S1 1UJ
 
_____________________________________________
From: Rollett Gemma (CEX) On Behalf Of FOI
Sent: 29 November 2017 10:40
To: '[FOI #438934 email]'
Subject: Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
 
Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI/1056
 
Dear Mr Dalton
 
Thank you for your recent request for a review of the Freedom of
Information response provided to you.  Your response related to
information regarding Location List for
Application of 14 Engineering Solutions.
 
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 16/11/2017.  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 14/12/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact the team on 0114
2734567.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 2 North Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [2]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Ian Dalton [[3]mailto:[FOI #438934 email]]
Sent: 16 November 2017 04:30
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - FOI request -
Engineering solutions
 
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.
 
I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's
handling of my FOI request 'FOI request - Engineering solutions'.
 
I do not understand how a local authority can carry out highway
maintenance work without creating some kind of traceable record for it. 
Local authorities have a duty to remain transparent and accountable which
means keeping clear records of everything they do. Given that the ICO is
currently investigating you for a similar FOI request that you failed to
supply a satisfactory answer to,  I hope that you treat my request
seriously and aim to provide a satisfactory answer. Why it took you 4
weeks to inform me of this paltry response I do not know. I look forward
to receiving a full response to my request.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Ian Dalton
 
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[5][FOI #438934 email]
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 

show quoted sections