Management operations in woodland in Shipley Glen

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Dear Bradford City Council,

Could you please provide me with the following:
- details of any management plan there is for the woodland in Shipley Glen
- a list of the management operations carried out in this woodland, including dates, aim, and contractors used, since 1st January 2012
- the sources of funding that were applied to these management operations
- details of the statutory and permissive access to this woodland
- whether this woodland is certified to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard

Yours faithfully,

Mark Fisher

Dear Bradford City Council,

On the 29 September 2014, I made an FOI request of Bradford City Council for information about Management operations in woodland in Shipley Glen. By law, the Council should have responded by now, although I have heard nothing from you. The Council should know that the Forestry Commission responded to a request related to the information I seek from you, and within the time allowed.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Fisher

Freedom of Information, Bradford City Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr. Fisher,

I refer to your request for access to information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We apologise for the delay in responding to you.

The Council's response is below:

1. Please find attached the relevant management plan and map for Shipley Glen woodland.
2. No works carried out in Shipley Glen Woodland during this period by Trees and Woodlands service
3. N/A
4. Details of public rights of way can be found at www.Bradford.gov.uk http://www.bradford.gov.uk/bmdc/the_envi...
5. CBMDC woodlands, including Shipley Glen Woodland, fulfils the requirements of The UKWAS, assessed under UPM Tilhill Group Certification Scheme SGS-FM/COC-000429. Membership number G127 valid 17th April 2013 - 17th April 2018.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, if you are not satisfied with this reply you may ask for a review of the decision by contacting [Bradford City Council request email] or by writing to Freedom of Information, Bradford Metropolitan District, 5th Floor, Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1HX.

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review you have the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Tel: 01625 545700 URL: http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Stephen Pickles
Electronic Services Assistant
01274 435044
5th Floor, Britannia House, Bradford, BD1 1HX
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Department of Finance
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Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for the response.

It is, however, disingenuous to respond to Q.2 as though the Council is unaware of the tree felling in Shipley Glen because it was not carried out by the Trees and Woodlands Service of the Council.

As owner of the woodland, it would be expected that the Council would be aware of any third party management operations in the woodland, and at some point to have given authority to that third party to undertake such operations. This is particularly so, since it would be impossible for the Council to execute its obligations under UKWAS without monitoring those operations.

Since the Council appears to be avoiding any responsibility for knowledge of the tree felling, I will be requesting an internal review, as well as considering submitting an additional FOI request.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Fisher

Freedom of Information, Bradford City Council

Dear Mr Fisher,

Please accept our apology for not responding to your follow up e-mail dated 4th November 2014 which had unfortunately been overlooked.

The Council is not aware of any tree felling authorised or otherwise in the woodland known as Shipley Glen and described in the map and management plan requested by you. However if you would be so kind as to provide an exact location of the tree felling then the Council will investigate.

Once again please accept our apology for the delay.

Kind regards

Dani

Miss Dani Mistry
Information Governance Officer
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council- Department of Finance 
5th Floor Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX
Tel: 01274 434506
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Hallo Dani

Thank you for getting back to me.

In the weeks before the felling, green spots of spray paint appeared on trees, and a green line was spray painted on the horizontal trunk of a large tree that had fallen across the beck.

Three trees were subsequently felled within a few days before 28 September 2014, a birch near the water line on the west bank of Loadpick Beck, and two larger trees near the water line on the east bank of the beck at map reference SE129399. An alder is also spotted green on the eastern bank, upstream from the fellings.

I have dispersed the logs and brash on the eastern bank to reduce the visual impact of these fellings. However, inspection of the felled trunks that I could not move will show the green spots, and the remaining base of the trunks are easily apparent. The green horizontal spray line on the fallen tree has been over-sprayed with red.

I do hope you will be able to get to the bottom of this, since our public woodlands should not be the plaything of people with chainsaws.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Fisher

Freedom of Information, Bradford City Council

1 Attachment

Hi Mark

Further to your e-mail dated 25th February 2015, I asked the officer to look into this matter and he has come back with the following response:

After further investigation and physically double checking the site and with the Assistant Woodland Manager, I have found the following work instruction issued in 10/09/14. Attached. At the time of the original enquiry he searched there database and it did not return this record; a further search by the Operations Manager today did produce a return. The work was identified as part of our routine risk assessment for the wood and carried out within the system used to support UKWAS; it would seem, however, that the database has reliability issues, this is something they are aware of and are currently upgrading to an new system in 2015.

The officer is happy for you to contact him directly (details below) if you require further concerns:

Bob Thorp
Tree and Woodland Manager
Tel: 01274 434826, [mobile number]

Kind regards

Dani

Miss Dani Mistry
Information Governance Officer
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council- Department of Finance 
5th Floor Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX
Tel: 01274 434506
This E-mail may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. It must not be used by, or its contents copied or disclosed to persons other than the intended recipient. Any liability (in negligence or otherwise) arising from any third party acting, or refraining from acting, on any information contained in this E-mail is excluded. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender and delete the message from your system immediately.

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Hallo Dani

Thanks for sending me the work instruction, and for chasing this up.

This of course only covers the work carried out in September of last year, when my original request asked for management operations carried out since 1st January 2012, as well as the sources of funding that were applied to these management operations. The issue at stake, however, and which you could convey to the Tree and Woodland Manager, is the judgement that led to management operations in Shipley Glen, and the insensitivity of the work.

Under “Maintenance of biodiversity and ecological functions” of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKAS) there is a requirement to provide standing and fallen deadwood habitats (section 6.2.2). Actions in accumulating deadwood volumes include “Keeping standing dead trees”. An oak was felled during July 2013 (approx. SE131388) that was not dead, as is confirmed by the growth of new stems arising from the stump. This oak was beginning to contribute to the standing dead wood of the woodland, in providing dead branches as well as cavities. The felled tree was logged, the logs causing a public hazard since they were deposited on a slope without any restraint. They have since mostly rolled a long way to the bottom of the slope. The unlogged tree would have stayed in place.

The guidance on actions for deadwood in UKAS notes that the most valuable areas within which to develop deadwood habitats are where linkages can be made with existing deadwood habitats to develop ecological connectivity over time. These areas include “Riparian or wet woodland”. The two alders felled last September were also beginning to contribute to the standing dead wood and, as alders, they were clearly riparian trees next to the waterline. The UKAS standards do add a caveat to the retention of deadwood when it may be in conflict with the safety of the public. However, these trees were on an informal footpath that is accepted as not without hazard, as is indicated by the numerous trees that have fallen across the beck along its course in the woodland. The earlier oak that was felled was also not in a particularly high use area of the woodland.

Dead wood in parts of the stems or branches of standing trees, as well as standing and fallen dead trees are indicators for naturalness in ancient woodland, as are old trees with rough bark structures, severe crown damage, large cavities, clefts in the stem, open bark gaps and bark bags. Standing and fallen dead wood is created by tree mortality, which in natural forests is caused by the process of ageing, fire, wind, snow breakage, drought, competition, insects and pathogens. In all cases, the felling in Shipley Glen not only resulted in a loss of standing deadwood, but also in the significant visual intrusion of obvious human management, as seen in the sawn logs, and in what is essentially a self-guiding habitat. I am not alone in thinking this, since Bradford Council’s Supplementary Planning Document on Landscape Character (LDF2008) has these words:
“Woodland is perceived as a very ‘natural’ landscape because it is the landcover that would have existed before man arrived here, and the landcover that results when man ceases to work the land. It can provide a very concentrated experience of the natural world in that it can be valuable habitat for a wide variety of wild plants, birds, animals and the enclosure of the trees hides views of other land more influenced by man”

Yours sincerely,

Mark Fisher

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