Independent Tree Panel's advice to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak

Susan Unwin 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.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sheffield City Council,

The advice given by the Independent Tree Panel on the Vernon Road oak tree was published on SCC's website last month. In their letter dated 16 May 2016 the Panel state that "it would be possible to substantially mitigate the disruption to the pavement and kerb, in such a way as to allow adequate passage of pedestrians, including those with buggies or using wheelchairs, for example using solutions 1,2,3,4,5 and 10. There is a fully accessible pavement on the opposite side of the road, and several accessible kerbs close by. We recognise that these solutions would result in the line of the kerb being interrupted by the trunk. We have written separately to you about the Council's policy regarding this issue".

Please confirm details of the ITP correspondence referred to in the previous sentence including when it was written and what it said and further confirm the Council's policy regarding a kerb line being interrupted by the trunk?

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Unwin

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /3766
 
Dear Susan Unwin
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to
Correspondence received from the ITP re: accessible kerbs and kerb line
policy which we received on 23/03/2017.
 
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 24/04/2017.
 
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: Susan Unwin [[2]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 23 March 2017 08:23
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Independent Tree Panel's advice
to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
The advice given by the Independent Tree Panel on the Vernon Road oak tree
was published on SCC's website last month. In their letter dated 16 May
2016 the Panel state that "it would be possible to substantially mitigate
the disruption to the pavement and kerb, in such a way as to allow
adequate passage of pedestrians, including those with buggies or using
wheelchairs, for example using solutions 1,2,3,4,5 and 10. There is a
fully accessible pavement on the opposite side of the road, and several
accessible kerbs close by. We recognise that these solutions would result
in the line of the  kerb being interrupted by the trunk. We have written
separately to you about the Council's policy regarding this issue".
 
Please confirm details of the ITP correspondence referred to in the
previous sentence including when it was written and what it said and
further confirm the Council's policy  regarding a kerb line being
interrupted by the trunk?
 
Many thanks.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Susan Unwin
 
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show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

1 Attachment

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /3766

 

Dear Susan Unwin

 

Thank you for your recent request for information relating to
Correspondence received from the ITP re: accessible kerbs and kerb line
policy which we received on 23/03/2017.

 

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

 

The letter published on the Council’s website on 16 May 2016 does not
state “We have written separately to you about the Council's policy
regarding this issue" (please find this letter attached in PDF format). We
therefore do not hold the information requested.”

 

Sheffield City Council has a number of suggested treatments where the kerb
line is displaced, such as the use of thinner profile kerbs or use of
dropped kerbs. It does not have a specific policy for kerb lines being
interrupted by the trunk of trees, although if the stem of a tree is
physically within the carriageway then existing Highways Act legislation
would provide the appropriate legal standpoint on how the Authority should
deal with this scenario. As such a separate, standalone policy is not
required.

 

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

 

 

_____________________________________________

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,
The pdf attachment with SCC's response is for ASHFURLONG CLOSE not VERNON ROAD. I have the pdf attachment for VERNON Road which clearly states : "it would be possible to substantially mitigate the disruption to the pavement and kerb, in such a way as to allow adequate passage of pedestrians, including those with buggies or using wheelchairs, for example using solutions 1,2,3,4,5 and 10. There is a fully accessible pavement on the opposite side of the road, and several accessible kerbs close by. We recognise that these solutions would result in the line of the kerb being interrupted by the trunk. We have written separately to you about the Council's policy regarding this issue".
If for some reason you have mislaid this pdf as it is no longer visible on your website I would be happy to forward a copy. Please respond to my original request.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Unwin

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's advice to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak'.

The PDF attachment in SCC's response was for Ashfurlong Close not Vernon Road. This was pointed out in my response to SCC 21st April 2017, their response to my enquiry is long overdue.

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

Yours faithfully,

Susan Unwin

Rebecca Hammond left an annotation ()

This is so overdue, that you should escalate to the ICO.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF.

T. 01625 545558 (Wednesday and Friday)
F. 01625 524510
www.ico.org.uk

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest. To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FLEXI®-PAVE - SCC / AMEY IGNORANCE & DECEIT

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

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

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

***
At the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum (2/9/2015) from SCC’s Head of Highway Maintenance (Steve Robinson) stated that EXCAVATIONS, ALTERNATIVE SURFACING, AND RAMPING ARE ALL “SOLUTIONS” THAT ARE WITHIN THE STREETS AHEAD CONTRACT AND CAN BE USED “AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE COUNCIL”. He said:
“THE TAX-PAYER DOES NOT PAY IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION OR A TREE-BASED SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, and the reason for that is that the Streets Ahead project is a highway maintenance project that engineering and tree-based solutions are highway maintenance solutions”
[…]
“IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a last resort”.

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

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

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

FLEXI®-PAVE - SCC / AMEY IGNORANCE & DECEIT

• 20th APRIL 2017

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

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

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

Dear Xxxx,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kind Regards,

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

*****
Source:
Stocksbridge Community Forum (online):

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

*****

Also See:

“LETTER: From SCCs Chief Executive - OVER 4yrs IN TO A £2.2 bn PROJECT & NO ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS DRAFTED”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

&

CRITERIA USED TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO FELL (INCLUDING EXCERPTS FROM DAVE CAULFIELD'S WITNESS STATEMENT TO THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

FOI, Sheffield City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Unwin,

Initially please accept my apologies for the protracted delay in response 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 as has occurred with this response. Unfortunately due to a number of factors we have been significantly delayed in providing responses to internal reviews.

During my review of your request I have considered the Council's approach to your initial request, our disclosure and the wider information held by the Council.

In this particular case it appears that your initial request was cross-referenced with the wrong correspondence from the ITP. The officer dealing with your request having unfortunately provided a copy of a letter about Ashfurlong Road (of the same date as your request) and not reviewed the specific Vernon Road letter which was the subject of your request. As a result our response was incorrect in this instance due to the confusion about the letter which you were requesting information about. I am sorry that on this occasion the error was not picked up in prior to the response being provided. In this case due to the letters being of the same date the response was not challenged and checked in reference to the specific wording of your request. I apologise on behalf of the Council that this was not identified initially and this has led to a delay in the receipt of the attached information.

As a result I have sourced what I believe to be the correct document subject to your request; namely the letter of the 16th May 2016 from the ITP in regard to kerbs. We are of the understanding that this is the letter referred to by the ITP in their letter regarding Vernon Road.

Review Decision - Conclusion

Taking the above into account, I have identified the error in the handling of your initial FOI request and provided what I consider to the correct information under this review. I hope this information assists when your enquiries.

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

Kind regards

Mark

Mark Knight
Information Management Officer
Business Change and Information Solutions (BCIS)
Resources Portfolio, Sheffield City Council
Email: [email address]
Postal Address: Sheffield City Council, PO Box 1283, Sheffield S1 1UJ

Dear FOI,

Thank you for finally releasing the information I requested. Can you please advise what was Simon Green/SCC's response to the Independent Tree Panel for Sheffield General Advice letter dated 16 May 2016, in respect of :
1 Revising SCC's policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would appear to permit this outcome?
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon Green/SCC agree with this statement?
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of trees? If so please provide locations.
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the 2 locations that the ITP have identified?

Yours sincerely,

Susan Unwin

Mr Long left an annotation ()

TREES & HAZARD MANAGEMENT

“Dear Editor,

With regard to city-wide destruction of Sheffield’s street trees, Sheffield City Council (SCC) frequently justify felling mature street trees on the basis that damage to footways and kerbs hinders or prevents accessibility and mobility, and represents a danger to people or vehicles [2]. Fortunately, there are a range of alternative resurfacing products, methods and techniques that can be used for reconstruction or repair - reasonable maintenance options. Their use would enable the safe long-term retention of existing trees, as well as achieve a smooth surface of adequate regularity [1]. It is not necessary for SCC or Amey to fell all trees associated with damage to the built environment in order to fulfil their statutory duties [2]. The £2.2bn highway maintenance PFI contract commits the service provider - Amey - to maximise canopy cover and apply an holistic, innovative, sustainable approach to stewardship of the highway tree population [3]. Neglect to take adequate steps to ensure fulfilment of these commitments stems from the fact that, contrary to all current good practice guidance and recommendations, SCC has yet to honour its 7yo policy commitment to have a tree strategy [4], to guide and inform policy and decisions, and help ensure a planned, systematic, consistent, integrated, balanced approach.

On 2nd September, 2015, Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) publicly presented a list of 25 ideas - “engineering solutions” - that could be used to retain mature street trees when resurfacing. The list included: excavation; “flexible paving/surfacing solution”; ramping/re-profiling; use of thinner kerbs; removal of displaced kerbs; pruning (including pollarding); “creation of larger tree pits” [3]. 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]"

SCC regularly assert that felling is a “last resort” [6]. But, since 2015, the Information Commissioner [7] and John Mothersole (SCC Chief Executive) [8] have confirmed that no alternative highway engineering specifications have been commissioned or drafted for consideration for use as an alternative to felling.

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield.”

An earlier version of this letter was published on 10th August 2017, on page 8 of the Sheffield Telegraph newspaper, under the title: "Safe long-term retention of existing trees". Notation and notes have been added to support the content.

NOTES:

1)
See London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) guidance: 'Surface Materials Around Trees In Hard Landscapes' - May 2017:
https://www.ltoa.org.uk/resources/surfac...

&
Trees and Design Action Group, 2014. Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery. [Online] Available at: http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-hard-lan... [Accessed 25 January 2015].

2)
See the letter from the Department of Transport, dated 7th July 2015, on page 163 of the Nether Edge petition hand-out that was distributed to every Councillor in Sheffield, prior to the meeting that took place on 3rd February 2016 (the SORT letter dated 29th January 2016. Also, see pages 52 & 53):

“Local highway authorities, in your case Sheffield City Council, have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. The Act does not set out specific standards of maintenance, as it is for each individual local highway authority to assess which parts of its network are in need of repair and what standards should be applied, based upon their local knowledge and circumstances.”

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

(this letter triggered Amey & SCC to publish the back-dated 5yr contract document, the day before the meeting [3])

Also see UK Roads Liaison Group Guidance:
http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/co... ;

& this earlier letter to The Star newspaper:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

In addition, SCC & Amey have existing policy commitments to comply with “national best practice”. See:

“AMEY’S LEGAL OBLIGATION”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

“THE COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO RETAIN MATURE HIGHWAY TREES”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

"THE DISCRETION TO RETAIN MATURE TREES":
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

3)
See the Amey Streets Ahead tree management contract document that was made public on 2nd February 2016 (the day before the Nether Edge Sheffield Tree Action Group presented their 6,295 plus signature petition at a meeting of Sheffield City Council). It was released in response to a letter from the Save Our Roadside trees Sheffield Tree Action Group, addressed to Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29th January 2016 [2]:

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

4)
There is an existing policy commitment within “Sheffield’s Great Outdoors: Green and Open Space Strategy 2010-2030″ policy document, to initiate, develop, adopt and implement a tree strategy - a “Trees & Woodland Strategy” - as Council policy:

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/...

Also see these earlier letters to The Star:

“DECEIT & LIES” (published on 12th September, 2016, as ‘Worthy of Trust?’):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

&
“Deceit” (not printed, dated Tuesday 27th September, 2016):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

& see

“WHERE'S OUR TREE STRATEGY?”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...
(A letter from Save Our Roadside Trees [SORT], dated 11th July, 2016, addressed to Simon Green (a) and David Caulfield (b), sent on 11th July, 2016.

a) Then SCC Executive Director for the “Place” portfolio, which included responsibility for the £2.2bn, city-wide, Streets Ahead highway maintenance project [Mr Green has since resigned. Laraine Manley (c) has been appointed as his replacement].

b) Then SCC Director of Development Services, with overall responsibility for highway trees [Mr Caulfield has since resigned. Paul Billington has been appointed as his replacement])

c) Sadly, Ms Manley’s recent policy document - “Growing Sustainably: A Bold Plan For A Sustainable Sheffield” neglects to make any mention whatsoever of Sheffield’s urban forest, trees, vegetation, or green infrastructure. Here’s a link to the report (remember that SUSTAINABILITY is supposed to be at the heart of existing policy commitments [3] [d]):

http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...

d) See the Final Report of Sheffield’s Green Commission:
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/planni...

Also see this earlier letter to The Star:

"STREET TREE MASSACRE" (a response to Cllr Peter Price, published on Saturday 21st January 2017: the day of the STAG conference):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

5)
Listen to the attached audio clip, from the second meeting of the “bi-monthly” Streets Ahead Highway Tree Advisory Forum, held on 2nd September 2015, attached above (HTAF 2_2nd_September_2015_Steve_Robinson - SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_NO EXTRA COST SOLUTIONS_150902_001_2_3_2). Please note that to date (7th August 2017) there has not been a third meeting, despite the SCC website continuing to assert:

“Anyone who cares about the trees on Sheffield’s streets can come along to the Highway Tree Advisory Forum meeting.

The forum has been set up to give people an opportunity to hear from a variety of experts from various fields from across the city to debate how highway trees should be managed.”

Source:
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
(web-page last updated on 31st July 2017)

6)
See the aforementioned SORT letter [2]. Also, listen to the audio clip of the first “bi-monthly” Streets Ahead Highway Tree Advisory Forum meeting, held on 23rd July 2015, attached above (HTAF 1_23rd_July_2015_Steve_Robinson - SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_Last Resort_150723_002_5[1]).

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

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Re – Freedom of Information Request – Reference – FOI /804
 
Dear Susan Unwin
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Response to
Independent Tree Panel which we received on 29/08/2017.
 
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 26/09/2017.
 
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: Susan Unwin [[2]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 27 August 2017 08:24
To: FOI
Subject: Re: Internal Review FOI 3776
 
 
Dear FOI,
 
Thank you for finally releasing the information I requested. Can you
please advise what was Simon Green/SCC's response to the Independent Tree
Panel for Sheffield General Advice letter dated 16 May 2016, in respect of
:
1 Revising SCC's  policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would
mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering
solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would
appear to permit this outcome?
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line
interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon
Green/SCC agree with this statement?
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short
distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of
trees? If so please provide locations.
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the
2 locations that the ITP have identified?
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Susan Unwin
 

Mr Long left an annotation ()

TREES, DAMAGE, “DISCRIMINATION” & MEDIA BIAS

*****
THE BATTLE FOR SUSTAINABLE STEWARDSHIP OF SHEFFIELD'S STREET TREES

Dear Editor,

In my opinion, significant omissions from recent media coverage of the legal dispute between Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Tree Action Groups have led to misleading reports. Various news sources reported that dead, dying, diseased and dangerous street trees are being felled in Sheffield [1&5]. However, that accounts for just four of the “6Ds” criteria that SCC & Amey Hallam Highways Ltd use to justify felling street trees [2]. The other two “Ds” – DAMAGING and DISCRIMINATORY - were NOT mentioned, yet they are the criteria most used by SCC and Amey to justify felling [7&9], and the most controversial [4].

Amey is the service provider for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project. Prior to this 25yr contract, in 2007, Elliott Consultancy Ltd surveyed Sheffield’s entire street tree population. The consultant reported that 73.8% of Sheffield’s street trees were mature (25,877 trees) [3]. Most are associated with damage to footways and kerbs. The Deputy Leader of SCC has twice confirmed that the contract permits the felling of 67.7% of mature street trees [4]. On 28th July 2017, BBC Look North informed that around 5,400 have been felled [5].

On 23rd July, 2015, Steve Robinson (SCC Head of Highway Maintenance) informed:

“So, our underinvestment and underfunding left us with a number of dead, dying and dangerous trees. …there were 1,200 trees that were within that category. So, AMEY IDENTIFIED THOSE TREES AND ADDRESSED THOSE FIRST. […] Our next priority is to improve the condition of our roads and pavements. So, in other words, deal with the DAMAGING trees… So, we’re now looking to deal with DISCRIMINATORY trees.[6] …IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED. …a tree is removed as a LAST resort.”[4&7]

Since 2015, the Information commissioner [8] and John Mothersole (SCC Chief Executive) [9] have confirmed that no alternative highway engineering specifications have been commissioned or drafted for consideration for use as an alternative to felling. Instead, SCC & Amey have a list of 25 ideas [8 & 9].

Yours sincerely,

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb)

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

The above letter was sent to SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH on 2nd August 2017. The letter was also sent to THE STAR . It was published on 16th August 2017, on page 58 of Sheffield Telegraph. A similar version was sent to the YORKSHIRE POST on 1st August 2017. Despite further media interest, with the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS - Michael Gove – stepping up to criticise Sheffield City Council* Sheffield Telegraph chose to delay publication for two weeks. The other papers have chosen not to publish the letter. Notation and references have been added to support the content.

* To quote from Gove’s letter, dated 9th August 2017:

“LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE OF SHEFFIELD AND END TREE FELLING AND REPLACEMENT PROGRAMME”

Gove's letter can be viewed here:
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/in-f...

Links to national media coverage can be accessed here:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Ms Unwin
 
Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI/804
 
Thank you for your recent request for information regarding Response to
Independent Tree Panel, which we received on 27/08/2017.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
1 Revising SCC's  policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
The surveys are now completed and so there is no information held for
this.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would
mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering
solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would
appear to permit this outcome? There is no information held for this.
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line
interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon
Green/SCC agree with this statement? The ITP did consider this option on
many occasions – see our web site for details
[1]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short
distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of
trees? If so please provide locations.  The action is Option 16 and would
require additional funding which is not available to the Council
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the
2 locations that the ITP have identified?  All recommendations by the ITP
were considered and decisions can be seen on the Council’s web site
[2]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
 
 
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
[3][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 [4]www.ico.org.uk
 
Kind Regards,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [5]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Susan Unwin [[6]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 27 August 2017 08:24
To: FOI
Subject: Re: Internal Review FOI 3776
 
 
 
 
Dear FOI,
 
Thank you for finally releasing the information I requested. Can you
please advise what was Simon Green/SCC's response to the Independent Tree
Panel for Sheffield General Advice letter dated 16 May 2016, in respect of
:
1 Revising SCC's  policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would
mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering
solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would
appear to permit this outcome?
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line
interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon
Green/SCC agree with this statement?
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short
distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of
trees? If so please provide locations.
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the
2 locations that the ITP have identified?
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Susan Unwin
 

Mr Long left an annotation ()

The information requested has not been supplied and in some cases information not requested has been supplied instead. This is characteristic of responses from the SCC Information Management Officer - Mark Knight. I suggest an internal review be requested. If that fails, contact the Information Commissioner. The whole process can take over half a year.

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 (SCC) handling of my FOI request 'Independent Tree Panel&#39;s advice to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak'.
In my request I asked for SCC namely Simon Green's response to the various issues raised by the Independent Tree Panel's General advice letter dated 16 May 2016. None of my specific questions were answered. These are very important questions, many of the 8 trees listed for felling outside my house could be saved by adopting the free engineering solutions within the contract if SCC adhere to the ITP advice.

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

Yours faithfully,

Susan Unwin

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Susan Unwin
 
Thank you for your response which we received on 04/09/2017 relating to
information we sent you regarding Response to Independent Tree Panel. We
are sorry to hear our response was not quite what you wanted.
 
I am writing to advise that we are treating this as an internal review. 
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 02/10/2017.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please contact the team on 0114
20 53478.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.
 
       
_____________________________________________
From: Susan Unwin [[1]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 03 September 2017 12:09
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Independent
Tree Panel's advice to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak
 
 
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
(SCC) handling of my FOI request 'Independent Tree Panel&#39;s advice to
SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak'.
In my request I asked for SCC namely Simon Green's response to the various
issues raised by the Independent Tree Panel's General advice letter dated
16 May 2016. None of my specific questions were answered. These are very
important questions, many of the 8  trees listed for felling outside my
house could be saved by adopting the free engineering solutions within the
contract if SCC adhere to the ITP advice.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[2]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Susan Unwin
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[3][FOI #396879 email]
 
Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[5]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.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Rollett Gemma (CEX) On Behalf Of FOI
Sent: 01 September 2017 15:12
To: '[FOI #396879 email]'
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI/804
 
 
Dear Ms Unwin
 
Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI/804
 
Thank you for your recent request for information regarding Response to
Independent Tree Panel, which we received on 27/08/2017.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
1 Revising SCC's  policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
The surveys are now completed and so there is no information held for
this.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would
mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering
solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would
appear to permit this outcome? There is no information held for this.
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line
interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon
Green/SCC agree with this statement? The ITP did consider this option on
many occasions – see our web site for details
[6]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short
distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of
trees? If so please provide locations.  The action is Option 16 and would
require additional funding which is not available to the Council
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the
2 locations that the ITP have identified?  All recommendations by the ITP
were considered and decisions can be seen on the Council’s web site
[7]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
 
 
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
[8][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 [9]www.ico.org.uk
 
Kind Regards,
 
Resources Business Support
Moorfoot Level 8 West Wing
Sheffield S1 4PL
Tel : 0114 20 53478
E-mail : [10]FOI @sheffield.gov.uk
? Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
 
 
_____________________________________________
From: Susan Unwin [[11]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 27 August 2017 08:24
To: FOI
Subject: Re: Internal Review FOI 3776
 
 
 
 
Dear FOI,
 
Thank you for finally releasing the information I requested. Can you
please advise what was Simon Green/SCC's response to the Independent Tree
Panel for Sheffield General Advice letter dated 16 May 2016, in respect of
:
1 Revising SCC's  policy on low response rates of the Household Survey.
2. Damage to the network - kerbs, the absence of a continuous kerb would
mean that there remained damage to to the network. However engineering
solution 5 removal of displaced kerbs leaving a gap in the channel would
appear to permit this outcome?
3. The ITP consider that engineering solutions which leave the kerb line
interrupted would be justified to permit the retention of trees. Did Simon
Green/SCC agree with this statement?
4. Have SCC negotiated with Amey to allow the kerb line moved a short
distance into the street to allow a continuous kerb and the retention of
trees? If so please provide locations.
5. Have SCC considered replacing any existing pavements with grass in the
2 locations that the ITP have identified?
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Susan Unwin
 

Dear FOI,
On 04/09/17 I requested an internal review, I was notified that a response should be provided within 20 working days by 02/10/17.

Please advise when this response will be available?

Yours sincerely,

Susan Unwin

Mr Long left an annotation ()

A LETTER THE STAR REFUSED TO PUBLISH

A letter dated 3rd May, 2016. To date, The Star have not published it:

“With elections on 5th May, now is a good time to take stock of progress on the tree front, especially as SORT will be one year old this month.

The SORT campaign began when residents asked to see what other alternative highway engineering specifications had been considered for pavement and kerb construction, prior to any decision to fell healthy, structurally sound, mature trees (scheduled for felling on the basis that they are associated with damage to pavements and kerbs). BOTH SCC & AMEY HAVE ALWAYS ASSERTED THAT FELLING IS A “LAST RESORT. SORT are aware that mature highway trees are VALUABLE COMMUNITY ASSETS that provide a range of VALUABLE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES to neighbourhoods and communities. They knew that mature trees were of great benefit to health, well-being and quality of the environment, so they asked whether these benefits were accounted for by COST:BENEFIT ANALYSES AND IN BALANCED RISK ASSESSMENTS, PRIOR TO MAKING A DECISION TO FELL.

Both SCC & Amey did their best to avoid answering, and turned the focus to liability, accessibility & mobility.

***** Ironically, ALL STATUTORY DUTIES CAN BE ADEQUATELY FULFILLED, AND MATURE TREES SAFELY RETAINED, LONG-TERM, BY HAVING APPROPRIATE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS, AND BY COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT ARBORICULTURAL GOOD PRACTICE. *****

Eventually, answers emerged. On 8/7/2015, THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM CLARIFIED THAT MONETARY VALUATIONS ARE NOT DONE. On 22/7/2015, FOI 423 revealed that NO RISK ASSESSMENTS ARE DONE for hazards associated with trees. FOI responses (449 & 489) also indicated that RISK ANALYSES ARE NOT DONE, as the data necessary is not collected.

On 6/7/2015 request FOI 422 was made:

“I request the SPECIFICATIONS for the range of options that were considered and deemed to be impracticable, for the 11 healthy trees due for felling…”.

On 17/2/2016, the SCC Information Management Officer stated:

“The Council… note specifically that the options considered instead of felling each of these individuals trees is not (and would not be) recorded, therefore there is NO INFORMATION HELD in respect to your initial request.”

The Information Commissioner investigated the original response and, on 19/2/2016, informed:

"Assessment of suitability/lack of suitability for engineering solutions is made during a "walk and build" process by Amey… The team carrying out this "walk and build" hold detailed discussions at site level, considering and debating any and all potential engineering solutions which may be utilised to retain each specific tree… ***** THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS AND RATIONALE FOR THE DECISION IS NOT RECORDED.” *****

The Case Officer stated:

“…the Council has now confirmed to you that ***** NO INFORMATION IS HELD WITHIN THE SCOPE OF YOUR REQUEST.” *****

Flexible paving could be used to retain trees. On 14/3/2016, in the FOI 1259 response, SCC claimed: ‘We can confirm that our contractor Amey did use the brand “Flexi-pave” provided by the supplier KBI at the start of the contract’.

***** However, on 29/10/2015, SORT MET THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF KBI UK LTD. HE INFORMED THAT HE HAD NEVER BEEN CONTACTED BY SCC HIGHWAYS DEPARTMENT OR AMEY ABOUT USING FLEXI®-PAVE ON HIGHWAYS IN SHEFFIELD. *****

Even though Streets Ahead is a £2.2 BILLION, CITY-WIDE, ‘transformational’ highway maintenance project that will change the face of the city, at a meeting of full Council, on 3/2/2016, ***** THE COUNCIL REVEALED THAT THEY NEGLECTED TO BUDGET TO RETAIN MATURE HIGHWAY TREES, SO CANNOT AFFORD TO DO SO, ***** even though 75% (27,000) are mature.

Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act is being used to convert legitimate general enquiries to FOI requests. Under the Act, they are then dismissed as ‘vexatious’ or ‘futile’, or on the basis of ‘unreasonable persistence’.”

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

• 7th NOVEMBER 2017

FLEXI PAVE – SCC / AMEY MISINFORMATION, DECEIT & INCOMPETENCE

What follows is a posting from the Facebook page of Sheffield Tree Action Groups. Ever since the first tree group formed (SORT – Save Our Roadside Trees [originally known as Save Our Rustlings Trees], Sheffield City Council & Amey have repeatedly asserted (wrongly) that felling a tree is always a last resort. For detail, see the following letter & notes:

“Misinformation & Misrepresentation”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

However, thousands of healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees have been felled for causing damage to footways (“pavements”) by pushing the surface upward – known as ridging of the footway. Alternative surfacing can be used to enable the safe long-term retention of existing trees, as well as ramping. If used, these options can achieve a smooth surface of adequate regularity – sufficient for Sheffield City Council to adequately fulfil all statutory duties. Crucially, use of these options has been accounted for within the contract for works and their use comes at no extra cost to the taxpayer. For further detail, see the following letter & notes:

"Trees & Hazard Management" – published as "Safe long-term retention of existing trees", on 10th August 2017:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

There are various contractual commitments that commit the contractor responsible for service delivery on the £2.2bn highway maintenance contract – Amey – to ensure its acts and omissions represent current good practice and ensure felling is a “last resort”. For more on this, see:

“Cost of Sustainability”:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...
or
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....
&
Sustainability Vs Tree Massacre:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

Ever since MAY 2015, SORT have been requesting to see evidence that felling is a last resort*. The Facebook comment below is an e-mail from the SCC Information Management Officer to a key SORT participant. For completeness, the content that appears within square brackets has been added later – it was not included in the Facebook posting. The content was posted by Deerhund Shetty, on 8th November 2017, at 00:04 hrs.

* See the abridged version of the SORT petition hand-out. (The original version was 29 pages and was distributed to EVERY Councillor in Sheffield, on 26th June 2015, by SCC's John Turner: the Council’s Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources department). The abridged version was submitted to the SCC Green Commission as “evidence” for consideration when drafting policy. It can be accessed via the following link:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

*****
THE FACEBOOK POSTING:

“Drum Roll....are you ready?? :D

SCC has finally responded to SORT's request for the locations of 143 mature street trees retained by the use of Flexi-Pave, as claimed by Cllr Fox in 2015. Here is their answer:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[From: "FOI" <FOI@sheffield.gov.uk>
Date: 7 Nov 2017 5:48 pm
Subject: EIR request 1259 - Sheffield City Council's response related to the associated Decision Notice
To: Xxx
Cc: ]

Dear XXX

Following the Information Commissioner’s review of your EIR request (our reference 1259) and the issuing of a Decision Notice against the Council, we have attempted to provide a response to your initial request.

The Council has concerns that THE 143 FIGURE was initially interpreted incorrectly and is LIKELY to have been based on ESTIMATED LOCATIONS SUITABLE FOR FLEXI PAVING rather than specific sites.

As NO UNDERLYING DATA OR RECORDS WERE HELD in regard to the 143 figure WE HAVE NO DETAILS OF THE METHODOLOGY USED in the original collation of this information or simple reference to the records held.

Two years on from the initial statement being issued, the underlying data held by the Council has moved on significantly. As the possible solutions for the management of a tree are suggested as part of a “walk and build” process carried out by a number of officers representing different technical area specialisms anything up to a year and a half prior to any works, the data produced proceeds through a number of stages before resulting in a final action or decision to retain or replace a highway tree.

The walk and build process includes a number of Amey officers from numerous service areas (trees, street lighting, kerbing, carriageway surfacing, drainage etc.) who would all individually carry out their ASSESSMENTS of the works required on a particular street during the initial planning stage for street improvements. Their individual FINDINGS WOULD THEN ALL BE FED TO THE DESIGNERS for these streets.

The view of a tree officer in their walking of a street where they considered that a flexible paving solution may be applicable for consideration in the DESIGN FOR THE STREET/ AN INDIVIDUAL TREE, does not mean that the tree in question was not also causing irreparable DAMAGE to other elements of the network. This DAMAGE may have rendered the consideration of a flexible paving solution inappropriate or A SECONDARY ISSUE MAY HAVE MADE THE SUGGESTION DEFUNCT, such as proximity of a fire hydrant. Such issues would result in the initial suggestion of flexible paving as a potential solution not being proceeded with at DESIGN STAGE.

As a result an exhaustive exercise has been undertaken in an attempt to provide a response to your initial request. This has included over 300 hours of staff time searching for relevant records and site locations in respect to your request. Through this review WE HAVE IDENTIFIED 29 SITES WHERE A FLEXIBLE PAVING SOLUTION HAS BEEN USED and records to this effect have been provided in the attached document.*

We have highlighted the location, species and pit dimensions in the attached documentation* for your information. The Council appreciates that WE HAVE TO THIS POINT BEEN UNABLE TO IDENTIFY ANY FURTHER SITES WHERE FLEXIBLE PAVING HAS BEEN USED OR PRESCRIBED FOR USE within the Sheffield City Council area.

We do appreciate that it will likely have been used as a solution elsewhere on the highway network to retain a tree or as a result of new planting; but the data we hold does not identify these sites directly within the records we hold. As a result WE WOULD HAVE TO CREATE RECORDS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON EACH SITE WHERE FLEXIBLE PAVING HAS BEEN UTILISED and this would require the Council or Amey staff to visit each highway tree in the City and complete a visual assessment of in excess of 36,000 trees.

Through the attempts to collate any relevant records held by the Council and Amey, A REVIEW OF SITE INSPECTION NOTES WAS COMPLETED where available. This review also included identifying and considering information recorded within the “walk and build” and “as built” SITE DRAWINGS THAT WERE MADE FOR EACH SITE. This yielded no useful information related to your initial request as NO SITES WHERE FLEXIBLE PAVING WAS INDICATED AS A POTENTIAL SOLUTION WERE IDENTIFIED.

We do note that where a FLEXIBLE PAVING SOLUTION HAS BEEN DESIGNED OUT at the “as built” stage, that underlying DATA WOULD NOT BE RETAINED as there would be no value to the Council or Amey in retaining it i.e. there is no value in retaining records of what we might have done but was then not considered necessary or appropriate in THE FINAL DESIGN AND DECISION for the relevant street and individual street tree.

I do hope that the information disclosed is of assistance to your request.

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]

Source (STAG FB):
https://en-gb.facebook.com/groups/392913...

*The “attached documentation” can be accessed via the following link, in PDF format:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

It was the only document attached to the response. The document was named “Flexible paving installations”. It was authored by “Taylor Hanson, Serenity”, on 1st November 2017 and modified, at the same time, by “Wendy Woodhead CEX)”. SCC prefers to use the term “flexible paving” when responding to all enquiries about use of the trademarked product “FLEXI®-PAVE”. Cllr Bryan Lodge - SCC Cabinet Member for Environment and Streetscene (Cllr Fox’s successor) has clarified that this is because SCC & Amey can pass “asphalt” (Tarmac) off as a type of flexible paving [A]. The implication being that if they already use a “flexible” surfacing product for footways when resurfacing past mature trees, there’s no point in using anything different, even though alternative surfacing comes at “no extra cost to the taxpayer”.

“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” [B].

NOTES:

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

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

*****
Could this explain why our Council is so stubborn, backward & populated by ignorant bigots (Scroll to 39min 20s)?
http://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk...
*****
THE COMMUNICATION POSTED ON STAG FACEBOOK WAS ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO A DECISION NOTICE ISSUED BY THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER.

• The Decision Notice, can be accessed via the following link:
https://search.ico.org.uk/ico/search?q=F...

• Selected extracts from the Decision Notice, and earlier communications - about alternative surfacing and the use of FLEXI®-PAVE” to retain mature street trees (mature trees account for @73.8% of all street trees in Sheffield) - can be accessed via the following link:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

SCC MISREPRESENTATION & DECEIT

With regard to the SCC response dated 21st April 2017, the SCC Information Management Officer WRONGLY informed:

"...if the stem of a tree is physically within the carriageway then existing Highways Act legislation would provide the appropriate legal standpoint on how the Authority should deal with this scenario. As such a separate, standalone policy is not required."

THIS IS, IN FACT, A LIE. Please do see the legislation for yourself:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980...

If that isn't convincing enough, see the letter that the Save Our Roadside Trees group received from the Department for Transport, dated 7th July 2015 (signed by Gary Kemp - LTFGD). It can be found on page 163 of the SORT letter dated 29th January 2016 (distributed as a petition hand-out to every Councillor in Sheffield & the SCC Head of Highway Maintenance - Steve Robinson).

To quote Kemp:

"Local highway authorities, in your case Sheffield City Council, have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area.

THE ACT DOES NOT SET OUT SPECIFIC STANDARDS OF MAINTENANCE, as IT IS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO ASSESS which parts of its network are in need of repair and WHAT STANDARDS SHOULD BE APPLIED, BASED UPON THEIR LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND CIRCUMSTANCES. "

In addition, Amey has numerous contractual commitments, as briefly outlined in letters to local newspapers:

"TREES & HAZARD MANAGEMENT" (published in Sheffield Telegraph):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

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

SCC also have a number of existing policy commitments. For an introduction, see:

"STREET TREE MASSACRE" - a response to Cllr Peter Price (published in The Star):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

In addition to this, the Streets Ahead team & SCC have committed to implement "National Best Practice". For further detail, see the following:

"THE COUNCIL AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM HAVE EXISTING POLICY COMMITMENTS, TO COMPLY WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE":
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

"SCC & AMEY INCOMPETENCE":
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...

Quote:
"SORT Submitted the following Freedom of information (FOI) request (Ref: FOI / 423) on 06/07/2015: “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.” A response was received on 22/7/2015:

'WE DO NOT CARRY OUT A RISK ASSESSMENT AS PART OF OUR REVIEW OF TREES.' ”

*** NOTE ***

UKRLG guidance has been reviewed and revised. **** "'WELL-MANAGED HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE' SUPERSEDES THE PREVIOUS CODES *** *'Well-maintained Highways', 'Well-lit Highways' and 'Management of Highway Structures'. This was published on 28 October 2016.

The new Code can either be adopted straightaway by authorities or they **** HAVE UNTIL OCTOBER 2018 TO ADOPT A RISK BASED APPROACH."****
http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/en/co...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

Just to clarify, I am saying the assertion that "existing Highways Act legislation would provide the appropriate legal standpoint on how the Authority should deal with this scenario" is wrong, in that the SCC Information Management Officer, by stating this, in the context of this FOI request, has implied that the Highways Act dictates what SCC should/must do with regard to highway damage associated with trees. In fact, the Act does not give guidance or advice on the matters raised by this FOI request, nor does it set standards or specifications. Guidance and recommendations can be found in the range of good practice documents that the Streets Ahead team (SCC & Amey) claim - falsely - to use. You can access these via the links provided. It is expected that those responsible for highway maintenance will apply the level of care expected of reasonably skilled members of their respective professions. In short, competent people, with qualifications of an appropriate level, relevant to the matters that need to be addressed, are expected to apply or match current good practice.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

SCC INCOMPETENCE

Another point worth remembering is that the "Independent Tree Panel" (ITP) were not independent of SCC, but limited by SCC in what recommendations they were permitted to make. Rather than being permitted to commission, draught or suggest an alternative range of highway engineering specifications that could be adapted and applied to resolve a range of common highway maintenance problems associated with trees, the ITP appears to have been restricted and instructed by SCC to only make suggestions from the SCC/Amey LIST of options. You will find the LIST here:

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

NO ALTERNATIVE HIGHWAY ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS HAVE EVER BEEN COMMISSIONED OR DRAUGHTED, beyond the set used for roads that do not have street trees. Regardless of the Streets Ahead project being a £2.2bn, city-wide highway maintenance project, this omission represents gross incompetence and malpractice. Possibly why the disgraced SCC Head of Highway Maintenance has resigned and gone to Manchester?

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/we-r...

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/listen-she...

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/trees-new-...

“Saving Sheffield's war memorial trees 'could cost £350,000'”:
http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/saving-she...

Interviews with Mr Robinson about the Streets Ahead Highway Maintenance Project:

Transportation Professional (2012):
http://www.ciht.org.uk/download.cfm/doci...

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

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

Other document of interest (notice the names - Mothersole, Green & Manley):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

FOI, Sheffield City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Unwin
 
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: Susan Unwin [[2]mailto:[FOI #396879 email]]
Sent: 03 September 2017 12:09
To: FOI
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Independent
Tree Panel's advice to SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak
 
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
(SCC) handling of my FOI request 'Independent Tree Panel&#39;s advice to
SCC 16 May 2016 for Vernon Road Oak'.
In my request I asked for SCC namely Simon Green's response to the various
issues raised by the Independent Tree Panel's General advice letter dated
16 May 2016. None of my specific questions were answered. These are very
important questions, many of the 8  trees listed for felling outside my
house could be saved by adopting the free engineering solutions within the
contract if SCC adhere to the ITP advice.
 
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
[3]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Susan Unwin
 
 
 
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Mr Long left an annotation ()

Sheffield City Council's Information Management Officers have routinely overrun the statutory limit on the number of days they can avoid providing a response. For years now, they have frequently, consistently and persistently overrun statutory thresholds by days or, more often than not, by weeks or months. THIS NEEDS TO BE REPORTED TO AND INVESTIGATED BY THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE. Contact details are provided above (take a look at the responses SCC have been handing out in response to other requests - there appears to be gross incompetence and wilful intent to do everything possible to delay and obstruct access to what should be freely available information, given the Council's EXISTING policy commitment, MADE ON 3RD FEBRUARY, 2016:

"TO BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH THE SHEFFIELD PUBLIC ENSURING ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN".

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

= THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING THAT TOOK PLACE ON 3rd FEBRUARY, 2016, when the Nether Edge tree action group presented their 6,295 plus signature petition. The minutes can be accessed using the above link - find them under the sub-heading “Minutes of Previous Council Meetings”.

Questions about trees are on pages 6 & 7 of the PDF. A redacted version of the petition, followed by the Council’s response, can be found on pages 18 to 24.

Mr Long left an annotation ()

LETTER

The following letter has just arrived in my inbox, dated 6th December 2017. The author has kindly granted permission for me to share it here and has informed that it has been sent to the following newspapers:

THE STAR, Sheffield Telegraph, The Yorkshire Post & The Guardian.

Notation and references have been added to support the content.

*****

"HOW TO RETAIN MEMORIAL TREES

On 20th September 2017, The Star - a Sheffield newspaper - reported on the potential cost of retaining street trees [1]. An extortionate estimate of cost to retain trees was provided. Steve Robinson (then 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."

Commenting on the possibility of tree retention, in a report dated 27th November 2017, Philip Beecroft – recently appointed SCC Head of Highway Maintenance – asserted:

“Undertaking this work…would require prioritisation of the potential tree works against other pressing council priorities such as social care.” [2]

Of course, instead, Sheffield City Council (SCC) could use some of the £2 million plus that they have fined Amey for sub-standard works [3]. After all, SCC never whinge when it comes to dipping in to that multi-million pound pot to needlessly squander funds on household felling surveys, a sham “Independent” Tree Panel, surveillance of citizen tree groups, PR, smear, campaigns of misrepresentation, or court cases. All of which have been unnecessary, avoidable and represent malpractice [4] – a reckless use of public resources. Even so, only a relatively small fraction of the fine money has been used on such things, leaving plenty to enable the retention of mature street trees and ensure the SCC Highways PFI Client Team - responsible for monitoring and enforcing standards for the £2.2bn “Streets Ahead” highway maintenance project - is adequately resourced [5].

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” [6].

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) [4], on 2nd February 2016, Amey released a “commercially sensitive” contract document [7]. 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.”

On 2nd September, 2015, at the second (most recent) meeting of the “bi-monthly” Highway Tree Advisory Forum, Steve Robinson – Beecroft’s predecessor - publicly presented a list of 25 ideas - “engineering solutions” - that could be used to retain mature street trees when resurfacing. The list included: EXCAVATION; “FLEXIBLE PAVING/SURFACING SOLUTION”; RAMPING/RE-PROFILING; USE OF THINNER KERBS; REMOVAL OF DISPLACED KERBS; PRUNING (including pollarding); “creation of LARGER TREE PITS” [7]. 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." [8]

Should works be unaffordable, Mr Robinson informed: “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.”[9]

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.”

On numerous occasions, the Council and Amey have asserted that they work to British Standard 5837. The standard states [10]:

“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…

[…] 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)

Time for SCC to enforce contractual commitments [6 & 7] and for SCC & Amey to start implementing current good practice [5].

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb), Sheffield."

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

*****
NOTES & REFERENCES

*****

1)
“Saving Sheffield's war memorial trees 'could cost £350,000'”:
http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/saving-she...

2)
See Paul Billington’s* report (“War Memorial Trees”) to the SCC Cabinet, authored by Philip Beecroft (the newly appointed Head of Highway Maintenance), dated 27th November 2017:
http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...

Also see:
“War memorial trees in Sheffield 'would cost £500,000 to save':
https://www.thestar.co.uk/our-towns-and-...

*Paul Billington is SCC’s Director of Development Services – the substitute for David Caulfield (resigned). Mr Billington is responsible for all aspects of the £2.2bn, city-wide, Streets Ahead highway maintenance project that affect trees.

3)
See previous letters submitted to Johnson publishing Ltd which were never printed:

Sustainability_FELLING_Rustlings Rd (aka: “FELLING: SCC/AMEY INCOMPETENCE AND DECEIT”, dated 22nd November, 2016):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

“A LETTER TO THE SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH” (dated 23rd November, 2016)
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

“COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE” (dated 19th December, 2016):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

“COST OF SUSTAINABILITY” (dated 29th September 2017):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

In addition to the above, listen to the attached audio clip, named: “Cllr Lodge - SCC Cabinet Member For Environment And Streetscene - 1st August 2016_Amey_Streets Ahead_PFI_Fines_160801_002_4_2”

4)
See the SORT letter, dated 29th January, 2016, distributed by SCC to EVERY councillor in the city, as the Nether Edge petition hand-out. It can be accessed using the following link: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/si...

5)
Listen to the attached audio clips, named as follows:
“4_Cllr Lodge_1st August 2016_PFI_Client Team_160801_002_4_2”

“Amey_Roadshow_Sharrow_Nether Edge_14th Sept_2016_Enquiries_PFI_Client Team_160914_003_7”

6)
An e-mail from Cllr Jayne Dunn to a lead participant within the Save Our Roadside Trees Sheffield Tree Action Group. It can be viewed using this link:
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

7)
See the Amey PFI contract document for tree management that was made public on 2nd February 2016 (the day before the Nether Edge Sheffield Tree Action Group presented their 6,295 plus signature petition at a meeting of Sheffield City Council). It was released in response to a letter from the Save Our Roadside trees Sheffield Tree Action Group, addressed to Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), dated 29th January 2016 [4]:

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

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

8)
See D.Long’s previous letter: “The Battle For Sustainable Stewardship of Sheffield's Street Trees” ( https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co... ).

Also listen to the attached audio clip, from the second meeting of the “bi-monthly” Streets Ahead Highway Tree Advisory Forum, held on 2nd September 2015:

“HTAF 2_2nd_September_2015_Steve_Robinson - SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_NO EXTRA COST SOLUTIONS_150902_001_2_3_2” (transcribed on page 47 of the SORT letter [4, above]).

Please note that to date (6th December 2017) there has not been a third meeting, despite the SCC website continuing to assert:

“Anyone who cares about the trees on Sheffield’s streets can come along to the Highway Tree Advisory Forum meeting.

The forum has been set up to give people an opportunity to hear from a variety of experts from various fields from across the city to debate how highway trees should be managed.”

Source:
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/roads-...
(web-page last updated on 2nd November 2017 at 10:39AM)

9)
Listen to the attached audio clip, from the second meeting of the “bi-monthly” Streets Ahead Highway Tree Advisory Forum, held on 2nd September 2015:

“HTAF 2_2nd_September_2015_Steve_Robinson - SCC Head of Highway Maintenance_Section 58 Defence - Insufficient Funding_150902_001_2_3_2” (transcribed on page 45 of the SORT letter [4, above]).

10)
Reference: The British Standards Institution, 2012. British Standard 5837:2012 Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction - Recommendations". London: BSI Standards Ltd.


SCC MISREPRESENTATION & DECEIT

With regard to the SCC response dated 21st April 2017, the SCC Information Management Officer WRONGLY informed:

"...if the stem of a tree is physically within the carriageway then existing Highways Act legislation would provide the appropriate legal standpoint on how the Authority should deal with this scenario. As such a separate, standalone policy is not required."

THIS IS, IN FACT, A LIE. Please do see the legislation for yourself:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980...

If that isn't convincing enough, see the letter that the Save Our Roadside Trees group received from the Department for Transport, dated 7th July 2015 (signed by Gary Kemp - LTFGD). It can be found on page 163 of the SORT letter dated 29th January 2016 (distributed as a petition hand-out to every Councillor in Sheffield & the SCC Head of Highway Maintenance - Steve Robinson).

To quote Kemp:

"Local highway authorities, in your case Sheffield City Council, have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area.

THE ACT DOES NOT SET OUT SPECIFIC STANDARDS OF MAINTENANCE, as IT IS FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL LOCAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO ASSESS which parts of its network are in need of repair and WHAT STANDARDS SHOULD BE APPLIED, BASED UPON THEIR LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND CIRCUMSTANCES. "

In addition, Amey has numerous contractual commitments, as briefly outlined in letters to local newspapers:

"TREES & HAZARD MANAGEMENT" (published in Sheffield Telegraph):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

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

SCC also have a number of existing policy commitments. For an introduction, see:

"STREET TREE MASSACRE" - a response to Cllr Peter Price (published in The Star):
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

In addition to this, the Streets Ahead team & SCC have committed to implement "National Best Practice". For further detail, see the following:

"THE COUNCIL AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM HAVE EXISTING POLICY COMMITMENTS, TO COMPLY WITH CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE":
https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/co...

"SCC & AMEY INCOMPETENCE":
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...

SOURCE:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Just to clarify, I am saying the assertion that "existing Highways Act legislation would provide the appropriate legal standpoint on how the Authority should deal with this scenario" is wrong, in that the SCC Information Management Officer, by stating this, in the context of this FOI request, has implied that the Highways Act dictates what SCC should/must do with regard to highway damage associated with trees. In fact, the Act does not give guidance or advice on the matters raised by this FOI request, nor does it set standards or specifications. Guidance and recommendations can be found in the range of good practice documents that the Streets Ahead team (SCC & Amey) claim - falsely - to use. You can access these via the links provided. It is expected that those responsible for highway maintenance will apply the level of care expected of reasonably skilled members of their respective professions. In short, competent people, with qualifications of an appropriate level, relevant to the matters that need to be addressed, are expected to apply or match current good practice.
SOURCE:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...