Independent Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road

Marcus Combie 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,

Document Source:

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/in-your-are...

ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 (PDF, 127 KB)

Metadata and date for the pdf above indicate the file was created on Jul 22, 2016, 3:42 AM.

There seems to been a substantial delay (118 days) beofore the document was hosted on the councils public reports request page for the ITP - Nov 17, 2016 4:25:56 AM. That is 35 Minutes before work commenced on the trees inside the report.

I am seeking the following:

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document cache.

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal.

To narrow down your search, I suggest contact the maininters, admin and staff of the ITP portal. Asking their team to locate the when the document was first sent to them to be published and all additional information related to it.

Yours faithfully,

Marcus Combie

Dear Sheffield City Council,

Could you please acknowledge receipt of my request.

Regars,

Marcus Combie

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 3006
 
Dear Marcus Combie,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Independent
Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road which we received on 21/11/2016.
 
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 19/12/2016.
 
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][Sheffield City Council request email]
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Marcus Combie [[2]mailto:[FOI #372855 email]]
Sent: 21 November 2016 18:52
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Independent Tree Panel report
for Rustlings Road
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Document Source:
 
[3]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/in-your-are...
 
ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 (PDF, 127 KB)
 
Metadata and date for the pdf above indicate the file was created on Jul
22, 2016, 3:42 AM.
 
There seems to been a substantial delay (118 days) beofore the document
was hosted on the councils public reports request page for the ITP - Nov
17, 2016 4:25:56 AM. That is 35 Minutes before work commenced on the trees
inside the report.
 
I am seeking the following:
 
A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the
administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document
cache.
 
B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance
regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be
published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP
web portal.
 
To narrow down your search, I suggest contact the maininters, admin and
staff of the ITP portal. Asking their team to locate the when the document
was first sent to them to be published and all additional information
related to it.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Marcus Combie
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #372855 email]
 
Is [5][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:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
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

Dear Marcus
 
Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI/3006
 
Thank you for your recent request for information regarding Independent
Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road, which we received on 21/11/2016.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
The ITP advice and the Council’s final decision were published on the
Councils web site at around 4.45am on 17 November. The decision to publish
the information at this time in respect of the Rustlings Road works was
taken during the operational planning of the works and was due to concerns
about public safety and the safety of the workforce. Advance notification
of the works would have alerted protestors to the impending works and the
view was taken that this would increase the risks to the public and our
workforce during the works. We also published information on a further 6
streets at the same time as the information on Rustlings Road trees,
totalling 47 trees.
 
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
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Marcus Combie [[4]mailto:[FOI #372855 email]]
Sent: 21 November 2016 18:52
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Independent Tree Panel report
for Rustlings Road
 
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
Document Source:
 
[5]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/in-your-are...
 
ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 (PDF, 127 KB)
 
Metadata and date for the pdf above indicate the file was created on Jul
22, 2016, 3:42 AM.
 
There seems to been a substantial delay (118 days) beofore the document
was hosted on the councils public reports request page for the ITP - Nov
17, 2016 4:25:56 AM. That is 35 Minutes before work commenced on the trees
inside the report.
 
I am seeking the following:
 
A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the
administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document
cache.
 
B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance
regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be
published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP
web portal.
 
To narrow down your search, I suggest contact the maininters, admin and
staff of the ITP portal. Asking their team to locate the when the document
was first sent to them to be published and all additional information
related to it.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Marcus Combie
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[6][FOI #372855 email]
 
Is [7][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:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[9]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[10]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
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

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 'Independent Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road'.

You're response / statement from Sheffield City Council doesn't fulfill any of my FOI request.

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document cache.

I see no satisfactory answer to this request in your response, please address and provide full details when review is conducted.

Secondly:

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal.

As by my request I am requesting raw data sent to the ITP portal maintainers that is pertinent relevant to the issue a hand.

A blanket statement from Sheffield City council that does not address the very specific request for information and raw data.

Please conduct an internal review and provide the information requested and as you are obliged to.

Yours faithfully,

Marcus Combie

FOI, Sheffield City Council

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Re Freedom of Information Request Reference FOI 3006.html

    9K Download

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 3006

 

Dear Marcus Combie,

 

Thank you for your recent request for a review of the Freedom of
Information response provided to you.  Your response related to
information regarding the Independent Tree Panel report for Rustlings
Road.

 

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 16/12/2016.  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 18/01/2017.

 

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

 

Thank you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Resources Business Support

Moorfoot Level 8 West 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: Marcus Combie [mailto:[FOI #372855 email]]
Sent: 16 December 2016 16:40
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Independent
Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road

 

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 'Independent Tree Panel report for Rustlings
Road'.

 

You're response / statement from Sheffield City Council doesn't fulfill
any of my FOI request.

 

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the
administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document
cache.

 

I see no satisfactory answer to this request in your response, please
address and provide full details when review is conducted.

 

Secondly:

 

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance
regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be
published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP
web portal.

 

As by my request I am requesting raw data sent to the ITP portal
maintainers that is pertinent relevant to the issue a hand.

 

A blanket statement from Sheffield City council that does not address the
very specific request for information and raw data.

 

Please conduct an internal review and provide the information requested
and as you are obliged to.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Marcus Combie

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[2][FOI #372855 email]

 

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:

[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

 

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:

[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

 

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

Dear FOI,

The internal review for this request should have been completed on 18/01/2017. The original request was made 21 November 2016.

In your acknowledgment can you advise when the internal review will be complete and it's current status.

Yours sincerely,

Marcus Combie

Dear FOI,

Can you please provide the status of this internal review.

It overdue, my chaser email has not been acknowledged.

Yours sincerely,

Marcus Combie

Dear FOI, please forward to the Director of Information Services for response and Mr Curtis.

Mr. Curtis

In addition to my last reply, please see below a full explanation as why I find the latest review unsound and it’s conclusions weak. In addition, I see no satisfactory explanation as to how a significant portion of someone else’s internal review made it’s way into mine.

Regarding your revised review:

Can you please explain why you have omitted this portion if my original request?

"To narrow down your search, I suggest contact the maininters, admin and staff of the ITP portal. Asking their team to locate the when the document was first sent to them to be published and all additional information related to it."

The qualification on internal communications is not absolute and in the case of Rustlings Road and the admitted failure and that SCC “got it wrong” the public interest favors disclosure.

***You then replied stating that you were unhappy with our response above, asked further questions and asked for an internal review. This was on the 16th December where you stated***

I didn’t ask further questions, I asked the FOI to actually respond to original request and not issue a blanket statement.

***The exemption which was applied to the information you requested, apart from that information that was provided, stated the exemption was based on the cost limit as detailed blow.***

No exemption was stated in SCC response on the 16th of December, a generalist statement was issued that didn’t address my first FOI request.

***The exemption which was applied to the information you requested, apart from that information that was provided, stated the exemption was based on the cost limit as detailed blow.

“We have been informed the handling and location of information in regard to this request would exceed the 18 hour time limit under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. As a result to locate, retrieve and extract the requested information would likely well exceed the cost limit for dealing with FOI requests under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. For ease of reference, the cost limit (18hours or £450) is specified in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244)”
***

This exemption was not provided on the response on the 16th of December.

***As a result to complete your request the Council would need to undertake extensive searches of both electronic and manual records in order to locate, retrieve and extract all the correspondence which would be subject to your request. Interactions on the management of the highway trees on Rustling Road have been ongoing since the summer of 2015 and have been extensive.***

This is a weak reason with unsound grounding, SCC knows the document in question was created on 22.07.16 and sent to Simon Green by email. It was subsequently published on the 17.09.16.

You state:

"but unfortunately there is no central repository or all communications which would be subject to your request. "

That is why I specifically mentioned and you omitted note of this in your internal review:

To narrow down your search, I suggest contact the maininters, admin and staff of the ITP portal. Asking their team to locate the when the document was first sent to them to be published and all additional information related to it.

Regarding your standing on internal comms.

Public interest in disclosure is underlined in the following sections of ICO guidance on EIR Internal Comms

47. There is no automatic public interest in withholding information just because it falls within this class-based exception. It is not a blanket policy of non-disclosure.

73. Public interest in disclosure to promote transparency and accountability of SCC, public awareness and understanding of the events that led upto SCC getting it wrong.

74. The weight of this interest is even more apparent for SCC with the now dropped cases by the CPS for the SCC led operation of Rustlings Road, the latest statements from the Police Crime Commissioner, the high profile and importance of the issue regarding Rustlings Road, these are espcially highlighted in the amount of Press Releases put out by SCC and statements made to local media.

You state:

"there is no value in providing more information on this matter as requested in your second email."

The ICO for the EIR guidlines on internal coms makes clear even if the information would not in fact add much to public understanding, disclosing the full picture will always carry some weight as it will remove any suspicion of ‘spin’.

75. There has been number of people affected by the actions of SCC and Amey on Rustlings Road, not least the residents, again another weight in favor of disclosure is to remove any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

76. There is also the argument that disclosure would encourage better advice and more robust, well considered decision making in future. Given the nature and repercussions of the actions on Rustlings Road this again also favors disclosure.

As with all EIR exceptions, exemption 12 (4) (E) is a qualified exception. As such you must carry out a public interest test, I fail to see any such carried out in your response. You have not made the case that the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Corollary, Regulation 12(2) specifically states that a public authority shall apply a presumption in favour of disclosure, I see no such presumption in your response.

For these reasons you have not correctly applied the exemptions in this case. Please have your director issue a response on the departments half.

Regards

Marcus Combie

Marcus Combie left an annotation ()

This was the first internal review conducted by J Curtis. Note, 91% of the review was lifted directly from an internal Review Sent to Tom Danes on this site.

Dear Mr Combie

I am writing in connection with the request you submitted on 21st November 2016 (Our Reference FOI/3006) and subsequent request for internal review.

Initially please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your request for internal review. The Council does endeavour to provide a response to internal reviews within 20 working days. However upon occasion a review can be delayed which has regrettably occurred. This delay was caused by resourcing and demand in requests.

Please note I have reviewed the initial response to your request and now have decided to issue a fresh refusal under Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) rather than the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This is because the focus of your request is trees and related communications therefore it is under the scope of EIR.

In respect to FOIA this would actually be exempt from disclosure under Section 39 of the Act and be considered under EIR. I am sorry this did not occur in the initial handling of your request, but I have expanded on this throughout the review.

In your initial request, you specifically asked for:

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document cache.

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal.

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

Regulation 5(2) EIR – Time for compliance with request

Regulation 5 of EIR states that Sheffield City Council must respond to requests made under the EIR within 20 working days of receipt. In this case, your request was received by Sheffield City Council on 21st November 2016 which was responded to on 16th December 2016. This response was provided within 20 working days, therefore, I am satisfied that Regulation 5 of the EIR was correctly complied with in this case.

Our response stated

““The ITP advice and the Council’s final decision were published on the Councils web site at around 4.45am on 17 November. The decision to publish the information at this time in respect of the Rustlings Road works was taken during the operational planning of the works and was due to concerns about public safety and the safety of the workforce. Advance notification of the works would have alerted protestors to the impending works and the view was taken that this would increase the risks to the public and our workforce during the works. We also published information on a further 6 streets at the same time as the information on Rustlings Road trees, totalling 47 trees.”

The exemptions/exceptions which was applied to the information you requested

Regulation 14 EIR – refusal notice

Regulation 14 requires the Council to state and identify the exception being applied, together with noting the reasons why they apply. 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 our response and we confirmed the application of an exemption under the FOI, in this case:
· Section 12 - Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit; and the associated Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244).
· Section 21 – Information accessible by other means

Under this review we have decided to now review your request under EIR and the related exception from disclosure is Section 12:

· Regulation 12(4)(b) EIR - where the request for information is deemed manifestly unreasonable. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...)

Has the exemption and exception been correctly applied in this case?

· Section 12 - Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate

The explanation why we considered that this exception applied was detailed in our original response with the following reasons which was detailed in our response on the 22nd December 2016:

“We have been informed the handling and location of information in regard to this request would exceed the 18 hour time limit under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. As a result to locate, retrieve and extract the requested information would likely well exceed the cost limit for dealing with FOI requests under [1]Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act.
For ease of reference, the cost limit (18hours or £450) is specified in the [2]Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and
Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244)”

You then stated that you were dissatisfied with and asked for an internal review.

As noted above, under this internal review I have now decided to change our initial refusal to a exception under the EIR.

· Regulation 12(4)(b) EIR – Manifestly unreasonable
This information meets an exception from disclosure under Regulation 12(4)(6) as the request relates to material which is deemed manifestly unreasonable to collate in response to your request. The Council does hold records in relation to the information you have requested; but unfortunately there is no central repository or all communications which would be subject to your request. As a result to complete your request the Council would need to undertake extensive searches of both electronic and manual records in order to locate, retrieve and extract all the correspondence which would be subject to your request. Interactions on the management of the highway trees on Rustling Road have been on going since the summer of 2015 and have been extensive.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who oversee compliance with the information right legislation do not define what is Manifestly Unreasonable (EIR), but they provide detailed guidance about how to recognise such requests and how to deal with them. This guidance can be found on the internet links below:

Manifestly unreasonable requests -regulation 12(4)(b)
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

Cost to the Council

The ICO’s guidance specifically notes:
“19. In assessing whether the cost or burden of dealing with a request is “too great”, public authorities will need to consider the proportionality of the burden or costs involved and decide whether they are clearly or obviously unreasonable.
20. This will mean taking into account all the circumstances of the case including:
 the nature of the request and any wider value in the requested information being made publicly available;
 the importance of any underlying issue to which the request relates, and the extent to which responding to the request would illuminate that issue;
 the size of the public authority and the resources available to it, including the extent to which the public authority would be distracted from delivering other services; and
 the context in which the request is made, which may include the burden of responding to other requests on the same subject from the same requester.
21. It should be noted that public authorities may be required to accept a greater burden in providing environmental information than other information.”

In regard to the bullet points noted above:

· the nature of the request and any wider value in the requested information being made publicly available

It is clear there is substantial interest in regard to the topic of highways tree in Sheffield, including high profile campaigns around the issue in the City. There has been specific interest in Rustling Road and the Council’s handling of the decision to fell and final operation to fell trees on this road. Disclosure of the requested information would provide transparency to the range of consideration of the initial decision to final removal trees. However; due to the amount of information which would be captured by the breadth of this request it is likely that there would be much information which would provide little value in regard to the public debate of the handling of these trees.

· the importance of any underlying issue to which the request relates, and the extent to which responding to the request would illuminate that issue;

As detailed above, the Council is aware of the public interest in the issue of Highway tree maintenance and removals, particularly at Rustling Road. The Council has provided, through information requests and a range of publically available information, transparency in regard its management of Highway trees. In respect to this particular request we are aware that full details about the Council’s correspondence on these street trees may maybe be considered useful to those groups and individuals concerned about the decision to remove the related trees and interactions since 2015. However, how the full range of information held would assist public debate is not clear, as tree removal works at this location have occurred and more historic records will have been superseded.

· the size of the public authority and the resources available to it, including the extent to which the public authority would be distracted from delivering other services; and

The Council is a relatively large public authority however we do have to consider the impact and cost of requests for information. We also need to be reasonably able to review and impact of a request in terms of staff time in collating information in order to respond to a request for information. Unfortunately resources within the public sector are limited and in this case it is not considered a reasonable use of resources to comply with this request. As noted the Council has attempted to provide information related to Highway trees responding to large number of enquires, formal requests for information and through the publication of information on our website. However; the Council does also have to consider the impact of individual requests and their ability to obstruct the normal operation of Council business.

· the context in which the request is made, which may include the burden of responding to other requests on the same subject from the same requester.

This is not a relevant consideration per say as this appears to be the first request received from you this financial year. It is noted however that the Council has received a significant number of FOI/EIR requests relating to highways trees which have, as a result, taken up a lot of staff time in the handling of such requests.

At Point 22 and 23 the ICO’s guidance notes:

“22. In assessing the level of costs that might be incurred in responding to a request, we suggest that public authorities use a rate of £25 per hour for any staff time involved. This is in line with the rate applicable under FOIA by virtue of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004. This does not mean that the FOIA fees regulations apply to requests that fall to be considered under the EIR. However, we take these regulations to give a clear indication of what Parliament considered to be a reasonable charge for staff time.

23. In assessing whether the cost, or the amount of staff time involved in responding to a request, is sufficient to render a request manifestly unreasonable the FOIA fees regulations may be a useful starting point. They are not, however, determinative in any way.”

In respect to these considerations the Council does assess EIR requests inline with the cost threshold provided under the Freedom of Information Act and Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244). These provisions allow a cost limit of £450 pounds, or 18hours (£25 per hour) solid work to locate, extract and collate information under an FOI request.

As noted above, due to the timescale involved in the highway tree management on Rustling Road and the range of correspondence and staff that would be covered by your request we believe there are sufficient grounds to suggest that this information would cause a disproportionate burden on the Council and is therefore manifestly unreasonable.

Application of the Public Interest Test

Under the EIR we are also required to consider the public interest test in the application of an exception from disclosure. Please see below our considerations in regard to this case.

The Council does consider that there is a high public interest in the information requested particularly due to the interest in highway trees within Sheffield and specifically Rustling Road. The intention of EIR is to publish and make available environmental information so the onus is on disclosure. Disclosure is likely to stimulate debate and be of interest to a wide group of individuals within Sheffield and outside the City. Release of the full range of information request would provide confirmation on details on the initial consideration to remove the trees at this site through to actions which lead to the removal of trees on this road.

We also fell that the following points support the disclosure of the requested information:

· The Council has been subject to high levels of scrutiny in respect to the feeling of trees within Sheffield and particularly Rustling Road, including community pressure groups and application for judicial review in respect to the Council’s handling of such activity.
· The national media has covered the removal of street trees in Sheffield providing a contextual argument that the topic is of interest to the public (albeit may not be considered to be in the public interest)
· Scrutiny of the requested records may allow for more openness on the actual position of the wider public in the removal of trees, both support and opposition for Council actions

In regard to the application of the exception from disclosure the main consideration to the Council and in the wider public interest is the cost of proceeding with your request at significant public expense to collate all relevant information. We have to balance the right of the individual to request information with the impact on the cost burden imposed in completing such a request when Council resources are limited.

The Council has been subject to high levels of scrutiny in respect to the management of street trees including judicial review, other EIR requests, and general correspondence which have been reviewed and responded to where appropriate at significant public expense. An additional concern in this case is that the range of information requested would require specific review to ensure that any personal information held within the correspondence was redacted where appropriate which would further extend the burden of the request.

The Council believe that in this instance the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in processing your request. We therefore refuse to provide information held in regard to your request.

As per our Regulation 9 requirement to aid a requestor we have noted that you have the opportunity to redefine, reduce or limit your request in order to attempt to reduce the burden of your request. I note your comments re: providing information up to 18hours work which I have provided a response below.

Response to further comments in your request for review

Within your request for review you noted some specific concerns as detailed below where I have attempted to confirm the Council position were appropriate.

If the a manual review and search of records is necessary, please conduct the review until the cost limit set out in 12 of the FOIA is met, order of priority for search is outlined be as above.

Unfortunately the cost limitation and associated manifestly unreasonable decision do not require the Council tor work up to the £450 limit. There are a number of reasons for this which I will note briefly, initially this would require the Council to be selective in the form of information which we place the 18hrs work associated with the £450 limit, and additional time considered relevant for environmental information. It is likely that focusing a request in this way could mean information is released which is not specifically the focus of your request and associated enquiries. For example would the Council start with correspondence from say June 2015 and move forward until the limit was reached or would we move from current date back. Alternatively would be focus on one team initially and then expand outwards or review tree assessments or the planning for the final removal of the trees? It is likely that whatever approach was taken the Council could be considered to be attempting to make life easiest for ourselves or to be selecting banal information for release rather than more interesting material, which may or may not be held depending on the interest of the requestor.

Generally when handling requests for information which provide significant burden we are required to attempt to assist the requestor in redefining their request to bring it within the cost threshold/ considerations. In this regard we have attempted to advise you to limit your request in order to bring it within our consideration of a reasonable request in terms of costs. This remains and if there is a specific element of the considerations around Rustling Road trees that is of specific interest we will review your request in accordance with the regulations. It can be difficult to provide specific advice to bring your request within cost due to not being aware of the specific focus of your request i.e. the operations to fell the trees; the initial consideration on removal etc.

I'll be using the original deadline from when the FOI was submitted, as I made this specific request in anticipation of cost limitations.

I also find some discontinuity for the way SCC applies costing in relation to FOI request.

Reference – FOI / 1290 Submitted by Rebecca Hammond was turned down reason given:

"You referenced the ICO’s guidance on assessing the level of costs that might be incurred in responding to my request. You stated that it would be necessary to review 54206 records. You have stated that there is no field/enquiry type within your management system to allow easy collation of this information."

Oddly, the exact same request was approved for Nadia Haeri Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI / 2993.

For Nadia Haeri's request you were able to review 54206 records within the cost limitations for the FOI?

There is a specific difference in these two requests due to the specific nature and timeliness of the request. The later of the two requests related to a specific commissioned piece of work to support Cllr Dore’s statement referenced in the request. As noted in the earlier response it required review of individual records to collate the specific statistics noted. This was a specifically commissioned piece of work and not identified at the time of the initial request. It has been confirmed this was an extensive exercise to meet a request from a Councillor and not in specific reference to an FOIA/EIR request.

Most email clients have a search function allowing you to retrieve emails based on key selectors, I suggest contacting relevant people involved with the Rustling Road Tree felling decision and input "Rustling Road Tree" as a search term and provide those correspondence.

Whatever method councillor Julie Dore and fellow councilors used to review the records for FOIA 54206 please use same methodology as well as the email keyword e search outlined above.

As noted in responses above we do consider this to remain a significant burden to the Council in regard to our ability to source the information requested. We do not believe the collation of information and relevant review can be simply completed via simple electronic searches as noted above.

In your later email you noted the following:

Mark, thank you for the phone conversation today. Shortly afterwards, I saw statements in the press by Brian Lodge relevant to my FOI request. Please take these into account when sourcing and providing information.

“We are announcing a series of new commitments to the people of Sheffield for 2017 today"

"This is about working in a clear, transparent and collaborative way."

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

In respect of Brian Lodge statements about SCC working in a clear transparent manner, I look forward to receiving the information I requested in spirit openness and transparency SCC is now committed to.

As noted in Cllr Lodge’s statement the Council is committed to transparency and will support the proactive disclosure of information and the review of requests under FOIA and EIR in accordance in accordance with the law. The Council does however have to balance the right of access to information with the burden some individual requests would place on the authority were we to proceed with them in order to collate all relevant information. Unfortunately this is the case with your request; though again we reiterate the opportunity you have to redefine your request is order to bring the burden of the request to a reasonable level.

Review Decision - Conclusion

Taking the above into account, I am satisfied that there is a requirement to consider your request under EIR rather than FOI and for us to adjust our initial response to the manifestly unreasonable exception accordingly.

As the purpose of an internal review is to consider the processing of an initial request, including the application of exemptions/exceptions it is appropriate in this case to amend our initial decision.

In conclusion, it is my view that your request has now been handled correctly and within the legal requirements of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

I realise this is not the decision that you would wish, but I hope you can understand why I have upheld the original refusal to provide you with the details you have requested.

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.

Yours sincerely

John L Curtis

Marcus Combie left an annotation ()

His second attempt.

Dear Mr Combie

Further to my last email, I have detailed below my findings following my internal review.

This is relating to your initial request we received on the 21st November 2016 (Our Reference FOI/3006) and then your subsequent request for internal review which was requested on the 16th December 2016.

Can I initially apologise for the delay in responding to you, as well as any confusion from my last email. I was trying to provide some more context based on the fact that your request was around the subject area of trees.

The delay in responding to you has been due to the volume of requests received, as well as resourcing. We also close down during Christmas and New Year period as we are not essential services. Again I sincerely apologise for this.

I have on this occasion only added some context which I hope provides you with clarity for my conclusions.

My findings have considered your initial request, our responses and application of the law.

Your initial request dated 21st November asked for:

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document cache.

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal.

We then acknowledged your request on the 24th and stated that it would be responded by the 19th December 2016. A response was provided to you by the 16th December 2016. You then also stated on the 16th December that you were unhappy and asked for an internal review.

Just to explain, 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

My initial finding is that as your request related to trees and as such should more than likely have been acknowledged as an EIR rather than FOI. As such I will consider Environmental Information Regulations.

Time for Compliance

Regulation 5(2) EIR – Time for compliance with request

Regulation 5 of EIR states that Sheffield City Council must respond to requests made under the EIR within 20 working days of receipt. In this case, your request was received by Sheffield City Council on 21st November 2016 which was responded to on 16th December 2016. This response was provided within 20 working days, therefore, I am satisfied that Regulation 5 of the EIR was correctly complied with in this case.

Our response stated

““The ITP advice and the Council’s final decision were published on the Councils web site at around 4.45am on 17 November. The decision to publish the information at this time in respect of the Rustlings Road works was taken during the operational planning of the works and was due to concerns about public safety and the safety of the workforce. Advance notification of the works would have alerted protestors to the impending works and the view was taken that this would increase the risks to the public and our workforce during the works. We also published information on a further 6 streets at the same time as the information on Rustlings Road trees, totalling 47 trees.”

You then replied stating that you were unhappy with our response above, asked further questions and asked for an internal review. This was on the 16th December where you stated

“I am writing to request an internal review of Sheffield City Council's handling of my FOI request 'Independent Tree Panel report for Rustlings Road'.

You're response / statement from Sheffield City Council doesn't fulfil any of my FOI request.

A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document cache.

I see no satisfactory answer to this request in your response, please address and provide full details when review is conducted.

Secondly:

B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal.

As by my request I am requesting raw data sent to the ITP portal maintainers that is pertinent relevant to the issue a hand.

A blanket statement from Sheffield City council that does not address the very specific request for information and raw data.

Please conduct an internal review and provide the information requested and as you are obliged to.”

The exemption which was applied to the information you requested, apart from that information that was provided, stated the exemption was based on the cost limit as detailed blow.

“We have been informed the handling and location of information in regard to this request would exceed the 18 hour time limit under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. As a result to locate, retrieve and extract the requested information would likely well exceed the cost limit for dealing with FOI requests under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. For ease of reference, the cost limit (18hours or £450) is specified in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244)”

As this now falls under EIR I am changing this to the following refusal as detailed under regulation 14 of EIR.

As such this email is a refusal notice under this regulation.

Regulation 14 EIR – refusal notice

Regulation 14 requires the Council to state and identify the exception being applied, together with noting the reasons why they apply. 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 our response and we confirmed the application of an exemption under the FOI, in this case:
• Section 12 - Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit; and the associated Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No. 3244).
• Section 21 – Information accessible by other means

Under this review we have decided to now review your request under EIR and the related exception from disclosure is Section 12:

• Regulation 12(4)(b) and (e) EIR - where the request for information is deemed manifestly unreasonable. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...)

Has the exemption and exception been correctly applied in this case?

• Section 12 - Exemption where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate

I have reviewed this aspect and due to the nature of the request and volume of communications at the time around this issue (trees), this exemption above is appropriate to apply under as the volume of information relating to this area (trees) would have exceeded the appropriate limit.

As stated above however I do accept based on the fact that your request related to Trees that the request should have been recorded as an EIR, and as such, under this internal review I have now decided to change our initial refusal to an exception under the EIR 12(4)(b) and (e) EIR.

• Regulation 12(4) (b) and (e) EIR – Manifestly unreasonable
This information meets an exception from disclosure under Regulation as the request relates to material which is deemed manifestly unreasonable to collate in response to your request. The Council does hold records in relation to the information you have requested; but unfortunately there is no central repository or all communications which would be subject to your request.

As a result to complete your request the Council would need to undertake extensive searches of both electronic and manual records in order to locate, retrieve and extract all the correspondence which would be subject to your request. Interactions on the management of the highway trees on Rustling Road have been ongoing since the summer of 2015 and have been extensive.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who oversee compliance with the information right legislation do not define what is Manifestly Unreasonable (EIR), but they provide detailed guidance about how to recognise such requests and how to deal with them. This guidance can be found on the internet links below:

I also believe that exemption 12 (4) (E) is applicable here as the nature of the content you have asked for was for internal purposes.

Manifestly unreasonable requests -regulation 12(4)(E) 12.—(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that—
(e) the request involves the disclosure of internal communications.
Regulation 12(8) states:
12.—(8) For the purposes of paragraph (4)(e), internal communications includes communications between government departments.

It is clear that you have asked for information which was for intended for internal communications only and from a public interest perspective and given the topical area on Trees, and what you already have articulated in emails eg date of the PDF file and when it was published, there is no value in providing more information on this matter as requested in your second email. This also included information that related to health and safety purposes where it’s clear this was provided for internal purposes.

To provide some context, and further reason why I do not believe there is any value in providing this additional information to you, the Council has also stated:

"There were reasons relating to public safety why the decision was taken to fell the trees at 5am and not to publish the report earlier, but we have heard the message loud and clear that this was not the acceptable course of action.

"We have reflected on this and will not do work in the same way. To be specific, we commit to publishing the Independent Tree Panel reports in a timely manner, with full and transparent information about how we have come to decisions.

"We can also give assurances that no work will begin before 7am."

He added: "We know we got it wrong last week with the way the work was started. We have listened and are sorry for the mistakes that we made."

This it taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sou...

It has also been confirmed that:

"Sheffield City Council has confirmed that decisions about the street trees that have been through the Independent Tree Panel process will be published in a format in which they can be easily understood by the people of Sheffield at least a week ahead of works commencing."

http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/stree...

I do believe that I have now provided you with an internal review and some further contextual information which I hope assists you. 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

Yours sincerely

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Mr Combie,

In reference to your email the Council considers that your internal review is now closed. If you have specific concerns in regard to the handling of your FOI and related correspondence you have a right of independent review by the Information Commissioner's Officer. There is no further right of internal review or escalation of an FOI complaint within the Council once an internal review is complete. Therefore we will not be completing any further action in regard to this matter, unless specifically requested under an investigation by the Information Commissioner's 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

Mark

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

show quoted sections

Dear Mr Knight,

Please escalate to a director as requested.

There were numerous problems with the reviewer presented. The first review contained numerous paragraphs and direct quotations from someone else's review. The second review purposefully omitted portions of my request.

Yours sincerely,

Marcus Combie

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Mr Combie,
 
I am writing in reference to the ICO's review of this request and to
confirm the Council’s further review of your request and the information
held, or not, by the Council.
 
In your initial request you asked for the following details:
 
        A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to
the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and
document cache.
 
        B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of
relevance regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to
be published provided to the     administrators, maintainers and staff of
the ITP web portal.
 
Subsequent to my investigations as a result of the ICO enquiries, I am now
able to provide a further response from the Council setting out the
findings of my further review.
 
In the Council’s initial response to your request on 16^th December 2017
there were no exemptions or exceptions from disclosure provided. The
response was an attempt to confirm the position in regard to the document
you identified in your request and provide contextual information in
regard to the publication of information regarding Rustlings Road. During
my review of the Council’s Internal Review responses it is clear that the
use of exemptions/ exceptions where anomalously included in the internal
review response. As a result I apologise on behalf of the Council for the
confusion and concern this raised in regard to your request.
 
I appreciate that the initial response did not clearly provide an explicit
response to each of the points you raised within your request. As you
noted in your initial request for review this could be considered as a
statement from the Council rather than a confirmation or denial whether
information is held; or a copy of any information relevant to your request
if applicable. This should have been considered and full response provided
in our initial internal review; but as noted this did not occur on this
occasion.
 
As a result I have revisited the initial request in accordance with the
Council’s Highways Maintenance Division. Following this review I can
confirm the following response is regard to the specific terms of you
request:
 
A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the
administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document
cache.
 
We do not hold recorded information in this regard. The document was not
sent by standard electronic means of communication which would provide
this form of audit log details. In this case the document was given by
hand on a disk to the team responsible for the website on the 16^th
October 2016.
 
B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance
regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be
published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP
web portal.
 
We do not hold information in this regard. As the document was provided in
a face-to-face meeting and on a CD-ROM disk we do not hold an auditable
record in the form requested. The instruction was provided verbally and
therefore we do not hold any related records in relation to communications
with staff responsible for the maintenance of the website.
 
 
As noted above it is clear that up to this point the Council has not
complied with Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to confirm
or deny if information is held in regard to the individual requests you
made. I appreciate the review responses were delayed and did not actually
appropriately take into account the information requested, the response we
had provided or the actual records we did or didn’t hold. As a result, I
have used this case as an example to remind officers of the need to
consider each request and internal review on merit and follow the
legislation, advice, guidance and code of practice as required in the
handling of the case.
 
Please note I have confirmed this position to the ICO and will be
supplying them with a copy of this response to aid with their review of
the case.
 
Apologies again for the deficiencies in the handling of this request which
does not meet the standards the Council hopes to achieve; but I do hope
this response provides confirmation that the Council does not hold the
information you were initially hoping to obtain.
 
Kind regards
 
Mark
 
Mark Knight
Information Management Officer
Business Change and Information Solutions (BCIS)
Resources Portfolio, Sheffield City Council
Postal Address: Sheffield City Council,  PO Box 1283, Sheffield S1 1UJ
 

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Mr Combie,
 
I am writing in regard to your latest correspondence with the ICO in
regard to this request and the queries you have raised with them. (FOI
3006)
 
When reviewing the representations you provided I have identified an error
in the response I provided in my email of the 12^th September 2017.
Unfortunately due to a typographical error I have recorded the date of the
disk being provided to the team responsible for the website incorrectly.
This should in fact read that the disk was passed across on the 16^th
November 2016.  Please accept my apologies for this error which was mine
and should not have occurred. I have reviewed the initial communications
received from the service in regard to the date and can confirm the 16^th
November 2016 is the correct date and is the day before the operation
began on Rustlings Road. As you may appreciate the decision to handle the
uploading of information in this manner was in order to protect safety on
the site for staff, protestors and general public during the operation.
 
As a result I have provided an updated version of the response below for
ease of reference.
 
A) Time and Date ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 report was sent to the
administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP web portal and document
cache.
 
We do not hold recorded information in this regard. The document was not
sent by standard electronic means of communication which would provide
this form of audit log details. In this case the document was given by
hand on a disk to the team responsible for the website on the 16^th
November 2016.
 
B) Notes, internal memos, emails and/or any other document of relevance
regarding the ITP 21 Rustlings Road 22.07.16 timing and date to be
published provided to the administrators, maintainers and staff of the ITP
web portal.
 
We do not hold information in this regard. As the document was provided in
a face-to-face meeting and on a CD-ROM disk we do not hold an auditable
record in the form requested. The instruction was provided verbally and
therefore we do not hold any related records in relation to communications
with staff responsible for the maintenance of the website.
 
Apologies again for my error in this case.
 
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
 
_____________________________________________

Mr Long left an annotation ()

A LETTER TO THE SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH (23rd November, 2016)

***
“Dear Editor,

Last Thursday, EIGHT TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD were felled as part of the city-wide tree felling programme that is part of the £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ highway maintenance project. Seven of the trees (limes) were healthy and structurally sound, but FELLED BECAUSE, LIKE MOST MATURE HIGHWAY TREES IN SHEFFIELD, THEY WERE ASSOCIATED WITH DAMAGE TO THE FOOTWAY AND KERB. At the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2/9/2015), SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance (Steve Robinson) promised: ‘…IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a last resort’. He added:

‘…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.’

THE TREES FELLED HAD BEEN VALUED by Mr Christopher Neilan (Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters), using his nationally recognised Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees (CAVAT) method. THEY HAD A COLLECTIVE VALUE OF £139,534 AND A MEAN VALUE OF £19,933.

In February 2016, the Information Commissioner completed an investigation. The conclusions revealed that, OVER THREE YEARS IN TO THE £2.2BN CONTRACT, NEITHER SCC NOR AMEY HAVE COMMISSIONED OR DRAUGHTED ANY ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS for consideration for use as an alternative to felling, to retain trees. This was confirmed on 5th October, 2016, when SCC’s Director of Place (Simon Green: responsible for Highways and Planning) commented: ‘THE COUNCIL HAS NOT NEEDED TO COMMISSION ANY ALTERNATIVE ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS’.

On 1/8/2016 I met Cllr LODGE (SCC’s Cabinet member for Environment). He informed that use of alternative specifications would represent a ‘deviation’ from the Amey PFI contract. He informed that their use had not been budgeted for and, for this reason, they are unaffordable and not a reasonably practicable option. However, he added that

**** SCC HAD FINED AMEY OVER £2 MILLION DURING 2015, *****

for neglect to meet agreed standards. He added that SCC were “just in the process of taking some action against Amey”, for the same reason. I WAS LED TO UNDERSTAND THAT £2 MILLION WAS AVAILABLE AND COULD BE USED SPECIFICALLY TO RETAIN TREES ON RUSTLINGS ROAD. Unless there is a change in the attitude of decision-makers, SHEFFIELD STANDS TO LOSE ALMOST ALL ITS MATURE STREET TREES.

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

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

*****
CAVAT

To learn more about CAVAT valuation, see:
https://www.ltoa.org.uk/resources/cavat

• Sarajevs, V., 2011. Street Tree Valuation Systems. [Online]
Available at:
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCRN008.p...
[Accessed 7 July 2011].

• Forestry Commission England, 2010. The case for trees - in development and the urban environment. [Online]
Available at:
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/eng-casef...
[Accessed 12 May 2012].

• Natural England, 2013. Green Infrastructure – Valuation Tools Assessment (NECR126):
http://publications.naturalengland.org.u...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

COMMENT FROM THE ARBORICULTURAL ASSOCIATION

“The Arboricultural Association Comment On The Handling Of The Felling Of Trees On Rustlings Road And The Council's Tree Management Policy.”

“Street Trees in Rustlings Road, Sheffield

Last Updated: 24/11/2016

The Council have a legal responsibility to remove trees which are in a seriously diseased or dangerous condition. The removal of trees which are not dangerous but are merely seen to be “DAMAGING” (to the pavement or nearby walls) or “DISCRIMINATORY” (causing alleged obstruction to people with visual or physical impairments) has to be questioned. WE WOULD HOPE THAT ALL ALTERNATIVES TO REMOVAL WOULD HAVE BEEN FULLY CONSIDERED AND EXPLAINED TO ALL STAKEHOLDERS BEFORE ANY ACTION WAS TAKEN.

FURTHERMORE, WE REITERATE THE IMPORTANCE OF COUNCILS, LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND ANYONE WITH TREES UNDER THEIR STEWARDSHIP TO STRIVE FOR AND ADVOCATE THE SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF TREES, as well as highlighting the need for clear lines of communication and collaboration between all relevant parties before such crucial decisions are made.”

SOURCE:
http://www.trees.org.uk/News-Blog/News/S...

*****
COMMENT FROM THE ARBORICULTURAL ASSOCIATION:

“AA REGISTERED CONSULTANT JEREMY BARRELL ON THE ONE SHOW - BBC 1 4th January 7pm

Arboricultural Association Registered Consultant and long term Fellow Member Jeremy Barrell will be appearing in a segment on The One Show about the Sheffield street tree situation.

THE AA SUGGESTED JEREMY, AMONG OTHERS, AFTER THE BBC CONTACTED US FOR IMPARTIAL COMMENT FROM AN EXPERT on the emotive topic. He spent the best part of a day in December filming for the BBC magazine programme.

We hope this will be a great opportunity to advocate the SUSTAINABLE management of trees to the national audience, and for the importance for CLEAR LINES OF COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION between all relevant parties to be emphasised once again, following the REGRETFUL HANDLING OF THE SITUATION.”

SOURCE:
http://www.trees.org.uk/News-Blog/News/A...

*****
“BARRELL CRITICISES SHEFFIELD'S "SHOCKING" STREET TREE POLICY ON PRIMETIME TV

Barrell Tree Consultancy managing director Jeremy Barrell attacked Sheffield's street tree removal programme on last night's (4 January) One Show on BBC1.

Interviewed by presenter and veteran DJ Andy Kershaw while inspecting felled and soon-to-be-felled trees in the city, Jeremy Barrell said: "From a health and safety point of view they are fine - none of them need to come out.

THIS IS CONTRARY TO GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE AND GUIDANCE FROM THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF HIGHWAYS & TRANSPORTATION - IT'S A SHOCKING AFFAIR THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE DOESN'T HAPPEN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY."

SOURCE:
Horticulture Week - 5 January 2017. Author: Gavin McEwan.

http://www.hortweek.com/barrell-criticis...

*****
Clips from The One Show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESAF9A43...

https://youtu.be/ESAF9A43PwM

https://youtu.be/lsZOht2LaX8

*****
COMMENT FROM KEITH SACRE – then Vice Chairman of the Arboricultural Association (also, as a representative of Barcham Trees, supplier of trees to the Streets Ahead Project. Previously lead author of BS 8545:2014):

“Keith Sacre of Barcham Trees, the largest container tree nursery in Europe, supplying more than 60,000 each year, says the standard street trees they sell to London boroughs are 3.5m high with a 14cm girth. He calculates that TO REPLICATE THE LEAF AREA OF JUST ONE MATURE PLANE TREE on the Embankment, 60 NEW TREES WOULD HAVE TO BE PLANTED. ‘ONE-FOR-ONE REPLACEMENT IS MAD,’ he says. ‘Planting has got to be slow, steady, planned and resourced. There has to be a long-term commitment to recognising trees as the asset that they are.’

Unfortunately, the replacement of mature trees with dainty ornamental species is a trend across many cities, creating ‘LOLLIPOP LANDSCAPES’ according to Mark Johnston, author of Trees in Towns and Cities. ‘Local authorities are cutting back on their spending on tree maintenance and management so tree officers are reluctant to put in large trees. They’ll put in LITTLE LOLLIPOP TREES THAT DON’T CONTRIBUTE MUCH TO THE LANDSCAPE OR DELIVER MUCH IN TERMS OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES.’”
(Barkham, 2015)

Source:

The Guardian, 15th August, 2015
http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/a...

*****
For further comment on Sheffield City Council’s mismanagement and incompetence, in terms of the stewardship of Sheffield’s urban forest and its various tree populations, I strongly advise people see the SORT (Save Our Roadside Trees) communications. In particular:

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

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

INCOMPETENCE

LABOUR LEADER GIVES ADVICE

“But speaking tonight at a Westminster event* attended by the families of fallen service personnel in Iraq, MR CORBYN SAID:

‘POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL PARTIES CAN ONLY GROW STRONGER BY ACKNOWLEDGING WHEN THEY GET IT WRONG AND BY FACING UP TO THEIR MISTAKES.’ ”

*At Church House, Westminster.

Source:
http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/6...

Watch the video (for proof):
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/pol...

**** OUR CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT ****

“One of Sheffield’s most senior councillors who has overseen collection of council tax and business rates has resigned from his cabinet role after running into arrears with his own payments.

BRYAN LODGE, Labour councillor for Birley, said he felt the ‘most appropriate action’ was to quit from his role AS CABINET MEMBER FOR FINANCE after falling behind with business rates at his city centre sandwich shop on Division Street.

Coun Lodge said: ‘MY BUSINESS RATES HAVE FALLEN BEHIND by two months…’”

Read more: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/sheffield-...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

COST OF SUSTAINABILITY

“Dear Editor,

On 20th September, The Star reported on the potential cost of retaining street trees [1]. An extortionate estimate of cost to retain trees was provided. Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) was quoted:

"That's not a result of a detailed design. We would have to spend some money to do a detailed design."

Amey is the service provider for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project. In 2015, commenting on Amey’s contractual commitments, as SCC Cabinet Member For Environment, Recycling And Streetscene, Cllr Jayne Dunn informed:

“UNDER THE CONTRACT THEY HAVE TO FULFIL ANY PROMISE” [2].

As I understand it, a contract is legally binding. In response to a 140 page letter from the Save Our Roadside Trees Group, dated 29th January 2016 (distributed to every Councillor in the city) [3], on 2nd February 2016, Amey released a “commercially sensitive” contract document [4]. Quote:

“The removal of street trees will only be considered as a LAST RESORT where there are no other reasonably practicable management options available. […] As part of our commitment to only removing a street tree as a LAST RESORT, whenever a tree is found to be either damaging or disciminatory, we consider a list of engineering SOLUTIONS to establish whether any of these can be employed to retain the tree in situ.”

There are a number of “strategic goals” listed within the contract document, such as:

“MAXIMISE potential CANOPY COVER through… good arboricultural management”

“Establish a SUSTAINABLE tree stock through… appropriate management.”

“Improve compatibility with environment through HOLISTIC HIGHWAY DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT.”

“Improve function of highway trees through INNOVATIVE DESIGN strategy.”

At the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2/9/2015), Steve Robinson presented a list of 25 ideas - that could be used to retain trees. He informed:

“The engineering and tree-based solutions come at no extra cost to the council. So, 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 and engineering and tree-based solutions are highway maintenance solutions [5]. …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.”[6]

On numerous occasions, the Council and Amey have asserted that they work to British Standard 5837 [7]. The standard states:

“ROOT SYSTEMS, stems and canopies, with allowance for future movement and growth, NEED to be taken into account in all projects…

Where tree retention or planting is proposed…

THE OBJECTIVE SHOULD BE to achieve a harmonious relationship between trees and structures that can be sustained…
(from page 1 of BS5837)

A PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH TOWARDS TREE PROTECTION SHOULD BE ADOPTED…

Where alternative design solutions are not available… the potential impact of the proposals on the tree should be assessed, and a Tree Protection Plan and Arboricultural Method Statement produced.

[…] Details of DESIGN PROPOSALS should be developed in conjunction with the project ARBORICULTURIST and, where required, input from a SUITABLY QUALIFIED engineer.”
(from page 23 of BS5837)

When I met Cllr Lodge (SCC’s Cabinet member for Environment & Streetscene), on 1st August 2016, he said that SCC HAD FINED AMEY OVER £2 MILLION DURING 2015, for neglect to meet agreed standards. He added that SCC were “just in the process of taking some action against Amey”, for the same reason. I was led to understand that the fine money was available and could be used specifically to retain trees [8].

In short, provided Amey honour their existing contractual commitments, and the Council’s Highways PFI Client Team provide adequate ON-SITE SUPERVISION, MONITORING, AND ENFORCEMENT of compliance with the range of current good practice guidance and recommendations that the Streets Ahead team claim to comply with [4 & 9], there is no reason why the majority of mature street trees currently scheduled for felling can’t be safely retained, long term. In law, and in practice, Sheffield City Council has sufficient discretion to insist on A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH to stewardship of the highway tree population and prevent further UNNECESSARY, AVOIDABLE LOSS AND IRREVERSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION.

Time for SCC & Amey to start honouring existing policy commitments [10].

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb – former Highways), Sheffield.”

Source:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...
or
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....