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Streets Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategies

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Dear Sheffield City Council,

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...

This document will be identified as DOCUMENT 1 for the remainder of this request.

Request: Identify the organization that compiled the DOCUMENT 1 as published on the link.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of DOCUMENT 1
Request: In relation to the Streets Ahead contract was the DOCUMENT 1 ‘Mandatory’, ‘Guidance, ‘Contract Specific’ or other (identify)
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 1 part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree Management Strategy.

Requesting the following held about the relationship of DOCUMENT 1 and document linked below (DOCUMENT 2)

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...

Statement of Fact: The revision numbers and dated for versions 1-6 of both DOCUMENT 1 and DOCUMENT 2 are identical.

Request: Do both documents refer to the same set of previous revisions held or previously held by the council.

Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 2 has revision date of NOV 2015, DOCUMENT 1 was revised on JAN 2016.

Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 supersede DOCUMENT 2 in relation to the Five Year Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of DOCUMENT 2
Request: Did DOCUMENT 2 form part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree Management Strategy.

The following DOCUMENT 3

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...

Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 3 was submitted on NOV 2016. Sections changed are none. It matches DOCUMENT 2. The previous revision is NOV 2015.

Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 precede DOCUMENT 3 in relation to the Five Year Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 3 part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree Management Strategy

Request: Supply information of the date when DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3 were unusually 'subsequently stumbled upon' and located after been unable to find previously.

Request: Supply information where DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3 were stored and subsequently found.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Danes

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Tom Danes,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Streets
Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategies which we received on 19/07/18.
 
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 16/08/18.
 
In the meantime, if you have any queries please, contact us at the email
address below.
 
Thank you.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Sheffield City Council
PO Box 1283
Sheffield, S1 1UJ
Email: [1][Sheffield City Council request email]
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
 
_____________________________________________
From: Tom Danes [[2]mailto:[FOI #498396 email]]
Sent: 19 July 2018 01:40
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Streets Ahead Five Year Tree
Management Strategies
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
[3]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
This document will be identified as DOCUMENT 1 for the remainder of this
request.
 
Request: Identify the organization that compiled the DOCUMENT 1 as
published on the link.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 1
Request: In relation to the Streets Ahead contract was the DOCUMENT 1
‘Mandatory’, ‘Guidance, ‘Contract Specific’ or other (identify)
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 1  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
 
Requesting the following held about the relationship of DOCUMENT 1 and
document linked below (DOCUMENT 2)
 
[4]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
Statement of Fact: The revision numbers and dated for versions 1-6 of both
DOCUMENT 1 and DOCUMENT 2 are identical.
 
Request: Do both documents refer to the same set of previous revisions
held or previously held by the council.
 
Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 2 has revision date of NOV 2015, DOCUMENT 1
was revised on JAN 2016.
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 supersede DOCUMENT 2 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 2
Request: Did  DOCUMENT 2 form  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
 
The following  DOCUMENT 3
 
[5]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 3 was submitted on NOV 2016. Sections changed
are none. It matches DOCUMENT 2. The previous revision is NOV 2015.
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 precede DOCUMENT 3 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 3  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy
 
Request: Supply information of the date when DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3
were unusually 'subsequently stumbled upon' and located after been unable
to find previously.
 
Request:  Supply information where  DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3 were stored
and subsequently found.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Tom Danes
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[6][FOI #498396 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-...
 
Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 
 

show quoted sections

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Tom Danes,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Streets
Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategies which we received on 19/07/18.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
Request: Identify the organization that compiled the DOCUMENT 1 as
published on the link.
Document 1 was prepared by Sheffield City Council.  In order to aid public
understanding of the documents submitted under the Streets Ahead contract,
a simpler, more accessible version of the 2016 Five Year Tree Management
Strategy document was produced and published on the Council’s website.
This was a decision made as a result of discussions which occurred at the
Tree Forum and other tree meetings, where requests were made from
attendees for clearer information to be available for public consumption.
 
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 1
No
 
Request: In relation to the Streets Ahead contract was the DOCUMENT 1
‘Mandatory’, ‘Guidance, ‘Contract Specific’ or other (identify) 
As is outlined above, Document 1 was prepared by Sheffield City Council to
assist public understanding and consequently does not fall into any of
these categories.
 
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 1  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
No. As is outlined above, Document 1 was prepared by Sheffield City
Council to assist public understanding.
 
Request: Do both documents refer to the same set of previous revisions
held or previously held by the council.
As is outlined above, the intention was that Document 1 would be a more
accessible version of Document 2. The Council used Document 2 as a
template to develop Document 1 but unfortunately did not change the record
of revisions page when it developed the document. I can therefore confirm
that the record of revisions on Document 2 is correct but that the record
for Document 1 is incorrect.
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 supersede DOCUMENT 2 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy
No
 
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 2
No – the document is uncontrolled if copied or printed
 
Request: Did  DOCUMENT 2 form  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
Yes
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 precede DOCUMENT 3 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy
No. Document 2 precedes Document 3. Document 1 is a simpler, more
accessible version of the 2016 Five Year Tree Management Strategy document
prepared by Sheffield City Council to aid public understanding.
 
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 3  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy
Yes
 
Request: Supply information of the date when DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3
were unusually 'subsequently stumbled upon' and located after been unable
to find previously.
This date is not recorded.
 
Request:  Supply information where  DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3 were stored
and subsequently found.
They were discovered on the Council’s general file storage system.
 
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].  Internal review requests should be submitted
within 40 working days from the date of this response.
 
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,
 
Sheffield City Council
PO Box 1283
Sheffield, S1 1UJ
Email: [3][Sheffield City Council request email]
P Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to
_____________________________________________
From: Tom Danes [[4]mailto:[FOI #498396 email]]
Sent: 19 July 2018 01:40
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Streets Ahead Five Year Tree
Management Strategies
 
Dear Sheffield City Council,
 
[5]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
This document will be identified as DOCUMENT 1 for the remainder of this
request.
 
Request: Identify the organization that compiled the DOCUMENT 1 as
published on the link.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 1
Request: In relation to the Streets Ahead contract was the DOCUMENT 1
‘Mandatory’, ‘Guidance, ‘Contract Specific’ or other (identify)
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 1  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
 
Requesting the following held about the relationship of DOCUMENT 1 and
document linked below (DOCUMENT 2)
 
[6]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
Statement of Fact: The revision numbers and dated for versions 1-6 of both
DOCUMENT 1 and DOCUMENT 2 are identical.
 
Request: Do both documents refer to the same set of previous revisions
held or previously held by the council.
 
Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 2 has revision date of NOV 2015, DOCUMENT 1
was revised on JAN 2016.
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 supersede DOCUMENT 2 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did Sheffield City Council hold a controlled hard copy of
DOCUMENT 2
Request: Did  DOCUMENT 2 form  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy.
 
The following  DOCUMENT 3
 
[7]https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...
 
Statement of Fact: DOCUMENT 3 was submitted on NOV 2016. Sections changed
are none. It matches DOCUMENT 2. The previous revision is NOV 2015.
 
Request: Does DOCUMENT 1 precede DOCUMENT 3 in relation to the Five Year
Tree Management Strategy.
Request: Does or did DOCUMENT 3  part of Amey’s annual review of the Tree
Management Strategy
 
Request: Supply information of the date when DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3
were unusually 'subsequently stumbled upon' and located after been unable
to find previously.
 
Request:  Supply information where  DOCUMENT 2 and DOCUMENT 3 were stored
and subsequently found.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Tom Danes
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[8][FOI #498396 email]
 
Is [9][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:
[10]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:
[11]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
 
For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[12]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...
 
Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.
 
If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.
 
 

show quoted sections

Mr Long left an annotation ()

MISREPRESENTATION & INCOMPETENCE BY THE SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT & TRANSPORT

To quote the 'Streets Ahead Five Year Tree Management Strategy 2012 – 2017' (page 10):

“ALL TREES REMOVED WILL BE REPLACED ON A ONE FOR ONE BASIS THE FOLLOWING PLANTING SEASON”

SOURCE:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

 SCC COMMENT ON THE 5yr CONTRACT DOCUMENT:

“Councillor Terry Fox, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, thanked the petitioners and campaigners. He stated…

In an independent report during 2007, 75 percent of street trees were assessed as being mature or over-mature with potentially catastrophic decline in the health and safety of street trees if a programme of replacement was not undertaken. The Streets Ahead contract was informed by this survey. AMEY HAD A FIVE YEAR TREE STRATEGY WITHIN THE CONTRACT. Information which had been PART OF A CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENT had now been released as public information.”

SOURCE (page 20 of the minutes of the meeting of full Council that occurred on 3rd February 2016):

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

 AN EXTRACT FROM A TRANSCRIPT OF Cllr Fox’s EXACT WORDS AT THE MEETING OF FULL COUNCIL ON 3rd FEBRUARY 2016:

“AMEY HAD THE FIVE YEAR TREE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY WITHIN THEIR CONFIDENTIAL CONTRACT. We listened; we listened to what people have said and we’ve been able to release that document, Lord Mayor, out in to the public. Lord Mayor, with that, we also had an opportunity that we believed in previous ‘debates’, as always throughout here, is that OUR POLICIES AND OUR PROCEDURES ARE UP FOR CHALLENGE. IT HAS BEEN STATED, NOT ONCE, BUT MANY TIMES, THAT TAKING A TREE IS A LAST RESORT; and, to deal with that, and to deal with a small jigsaw piece of the Streets Ahead project, is the reason why we’ve got the Independent Tree Panel”

SOURCE:
An audio file of the meeting of full Council held on 3rd February 2016, named as follows:

‘Cllr Terry Fox – SCC Cabinet Member For Environment And Transport – 3rd February 2016_5yr Doc_Last Resort_ITP_Nether Edge_Petition_160203_008_1_4_2_03’

REFERENCE:
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

Mr Long left an annotation ()

SCC MISUSE & ABUSE OF THE FOI ACT

Sheffield City Council (SCC) often dismiss requests for information about aspects of the £2.2bn highway maintenance contract for the 25yr ‘Streets Ahead’ project, by asserting that SCC does not hold any relevant information, as Amey has it and it is therefore ‘commercially sensitive’.

The Information Commissioner has ruled that it is WRONG for SCC to misuse and abuse the Freedom Of Information Act to withhold access to information that is held on its behalf by the service provider (contractor) for the Streets Ahead project.

Following investigation, on 4th October 2017 the Information Commissioner’s Office issued a Decision Notice (Reference: FS50637180). The Decision Notice can be accessed via this link:

http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

THE ICO DECISION NOTICE STATES:

“13.
During the course of this investigation, IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT THE COUNCIL DID HOLD INFORMATION, BY VIRTUE OF IT BEING HELD ON ITS BEHALF BY ITS CONTRACTOR AMEY as per regulation 3(2)(b) of the EIR. Amey has a contract with the Council to carry out maintenance work for roads, street lights, and roadside trees.

WHILST THIS MAINTENANCE WORK HAS BEEN
OUTSOURCED TO AMEY IT REMAINS THE COUNCIL’S RESPONSIBILITY, AND THEREFORE
FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE EIR INFORMATION about the location of the 143 trees IS HELD BY THE COUNCIL.
[…]

40.
The SECTION 46 CODE OF PRACTICE* provides guidance on effective record management policies and why this is of benefit for both public authorities and requesters alike. The following extract comes from PARAGRAPH 9.3 and deals with what record systems should be held:

‘9.3
RECORDS SYSTEMS should be designed to meet the authority’s operational needs and using them SHOULD BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND PROCESSES. RECORDS SYSTEMS SHOULD HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERISTICS:

a) THEY SHOULD BE EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND USE so as to reduce the effort required of those who create and use the records within them. Ease of use is an important consideration when developing or selecting a system;

b) THEY SHOULD ENABLE QUICK AND EASY RETRIEVAL OF INFORMATION. With digital systems this should include the capacity to search for information requested under the Act;

h) THEY SHOULD ENABLE AN AUDIT TRAIL to be produced of occasions on which selected records have been seen, used, amended and deleted.’

41.
The Commissioner considers that this guidance would be appropriate in this instance. THE COUNCIL (VIA AMEY) HOLDS INFORMATION ABOUT ITS MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME IN A WEATHER-STAINED MANUAL FORM with little recognisable capability for extracting details.

THIS SHOWS THE RECORDS ARE NOT EASY TO USE, DO NOT ALLOW FOR QUICK RETRIEVAL, and – from what the Council said about ongoing changes to the records – do not allow for it go back and determine what information would have been held.”

* Selected extracts from the ‘Freedom of Information Code of Practice’ (published 4th July 2018:

“Code of Practice issues under section 45 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, providing guidance to public authorities on the discharge of their functions and responsibilities under Part I (Access to information held by public authorities) of the Act.”):
https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

*****
source:
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

Mr Long left an annotation ()

SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL / AMEY: DECEIT & MISINFORMATION

A LETTER TO SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH (dated 15th November, 2016)

“The £2.2 billion, city-wide, 25yr Amey PFI contract for highway maintenance (the Streets Ahead project) permits the felling of 67.7% of MATURE highway trees – half the population of Sheffield’s 35,057 highway trees. Non-compliance with good practice could result in the felling of many more.

At a meeting of full Council, on 1st July, 2015, the Deputy Leader of the Council (Cllr Leigh BRAMALL) stated:

‘Just before Streets Ahead, we had an independent survey done, erm, assessing all the trees across Sheffield, and it found that 70% were nearing the end of their life and 10,000 needed urgent attention. …Now, the contract says up to 50 % of trees can be removed, erm, and actually that’s 18,000.’

The Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) added:
‘The survey noted that 74% of our mature tree stock with very few young trees has given this combination the rate of decline evidence by the number of trees needing treatment.’

Commenting on the survey, Cllr Fox added: it “helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract” (the Amey PFI ).

At a later meeting of full Council, on 3rd February, 2016, Cllr BRAMALL stated:

‘In 2006/7 an independent survey assessed the city's highway tree stock. This survey found that over 75% of the city's 36,000 trees were nearing the end of their natural life and only 5% of the trees were classed as being in the 'young' age group.’

(Cllr BRAMALL also stated: “We have 36,000 highway trees on the street. The contract states that up to 50% can be replaced.”)

These exact words later appeared in a document that SCC presented to the High Court of Justice (during R [Dillner] v Sheffield CC and Amey Hallam Highways Ltd), under the heading: “Streets Ahead Approach to decision making regarding highway tree removal and replacement”.

The survey referred to is ‘Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007’. It was undertaken by Elliott Consultancy Ltd. I contacted Mr Elliott to enquire about the findings of the survey and to request a copy of the report: SORT had been requesting these from the Streets Ahead team for almost twelve months. Mr Elliott responded: “A formal report was not requested nor provided.” He added:

‘IF THERE WAS EVER ANY REQUEST FOR A FORMAL REPORT THEN WE WERE NOT AWARE OF IT - OUR ROLE WAS TO SURVEY THE STREET TREE STOCK AND PROVIDE THAT DATA TO THE ASSET MANAGEMENT COMPANY… THAT REALLY WAS OUR COMPLETE REMIT - NEITHER FORMAL MANAGEMENT OR A STRATEGIC ROLE.” He added: “I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PFI BID OR WITH ANY OF THE SUBSEQUENT SURVEYS, MANAGEMENT, OR STRATEGIC DISCUSSIONS’.

Last week, Save Our Roadside Trees (SORT) released a news update. It has caused a stir! SORT used a direct quote from Mr Elliott’s response to me:

‘DID I TELL THEM THEY NEEDED TO REMOVE HALF OF THEIR TREE STOCK? NO.

DID I TELL THEM THAT 70% OF THE TREES WERE NEARING THE END OF THEIR LIFE? NO […]

DID I EVEN SUGGEST THAT THE 10,000 BITS OF TREE WORK WERE 'URGENT'? NO –

(you have seen the pp and IT WAS CLEARLY EXPLAINED THAT 25,000 TREES NEEDED NO WORK, and of that 10,000 almost half were routine crown-lifting operations, another quarter being deadwooding operations, and others including the whole gamut of routine works etc. (I DID SUGGEST TO THEM THAT THERE WERE A COUPLE OF HUNDRED TREES THAT COULD BE RETAINED BUT THEIR CONDITION WAS SUCH THAT THEY MAY MERIT REPLACEMENT - THIS WAS THE ONLY PRE-EMPTIVE FELLING ISSUE THAT I RECALL MENTIONING).’

A copy of the ‘pp’ (PowerPoint slide show), mentioned above, can be accessed online, at Stocksbridge Community Forum (news). THERE APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN WILFUL ATTEMPTS BY SCC AND THE STREETS AHEAD TEAM TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC AND THE HIGH COURT. Trust in the Council and in its credibility is at an all-time low. Openness honesty and transparency is long overdue. WHEN WILL THE COUNCIL BEGIN TO HONOUR THE POLICY COMMITMENT IT MADE ON 3RD FEBRUARY, 2016: ‘TO BEING OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH THE SHEFFIELD PUBLIC ENSURING ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN’?

D.Long (Arboriculturist & Urban Forester), Sheffield.”

https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

*****

NOTES:
When commenting on the survey, Cllr Fox's exact words (on 1st July 2015) were:

"We had an independent survey done in 2006-2007 which helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract..."

Source:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

or
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

The "Sheffield City Highways Tree Survey 2006 – 2007" PowerPoint presentation ("pp") that Elliott referred to can be accessed by using one of these links:

http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

https://savesheffieldtreesorguk.files.wo...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

A letter to The Star, Sheffield Telegraph, The Yorkshire Post & The Guardian, dated 6th December 2017

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 discriminatory, 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…

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.”

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:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

*****
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):
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

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

“COUNCIL INCOMPETENCE” (dated 19th December, 2016):
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

“COST OF SUSTAINABILITY” (dated 29th September 2017):
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

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:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

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:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

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]:

http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

Also see:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

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

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.
http://crawley.gov.uk/pub_livx/groups/op...

GET IT WHILE YOU CAN, AS IT IS WORTH £224
https://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/...

Mr Long left an annotation ()

SCC Vs SUSTAINABILITY

CLLR JACK SCOTT (The Incompetent?):
SCC Cabinet Member For Transport & SUSTAINABILITY

Cllr Dunn succeeded the incompetent Cllr Jack Scott. Cllr Scott (a southerner) is one of the most incompetent Councillors that Sheffield has ever had the misfortune to have. He is currently CABINET MEMBER FOR TRANSPORT & SUSTAINABILITY. Here is what Cllr Scott has to say about trees & air quality:

“There is A VERY QUICK SCIENCE POINT as well, which is that trees do make a difference to nitrogen oxide and dioxide emissions - that’s absolutely true. THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING FOR PARTICULATE MATTER, which is like soot. They can’t absorb that, so, even if we left them, we do nothing on PM – particulate matter; and THAT’S A HUGE PROBLEM IN OUR CITY aswell…”

SOURCE:
Cllr Jack Scott on BBC Radio Sheffield, on 6th December 2017. Audio is available to listen to via this link:

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

VERY DISTURBING, considering his earlier comments on air quality and public health. See:

Sheffield City Council, 2012. Air Quality Action Plan 2015:
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...

AirQualityNews.com, 2013. Air pollution costing Sheffield £160 million:
http://www.airqualitynews.com/2013/02/21...

BBC News, 2013. Traffic pollution tested across Sheffield:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sou...

On 5th July 2017, the SAVE THE TREES OF MILLHOUSES PETITION (1,671 signatures) was ‘debated’ at a meeting of full Council in Sheffield Town Hall. Dr Phil Yates spoke on behalf of petitioners, as follows:

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

Cllr Jack Scott’s Response, as SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR TRANSPORT & SUSTAINABILITY, was as follows:

“YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT TO SAY THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS SITUATION. To quote: 600 DEATHS IN SHEFFIELD EACH YEAR and 40,000 deaths occur each year across the country as well, for poor air quality. This administration is very, very clear that it is A FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE rather than a technical or information issue. Erm, and we’ve also been extremely clear, I think, that we need more time to debate in Parliament.
[…]
I do need to be honest with you as well. THE WHOLE ISSUE REGARDING AIR QUALITY ISN’T TO DO WITH TREES. I know it’s what your’e saying, but the implication that the removal - the replacement – of Sheffield’s street trees – a small number of Sheffield’s street trees* - is damaging our air quality is fundamentally sky, and I agree completely about that. There are 36,000 street trees in our city. We can double that; we can triple that – it would have a negligible impact on the air quality and keeping Sheffield green.

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

These above quotes are transcribed from an audio recording of the meeting. SCC minutes of the meeting can be found here (see pages 13 & 14):
http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieList...

In 2014, when Cllr Jack Scott SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT, RECYCLING AND STREETSCENE, he authorised the felling of what is believed to have been Sheffield’s oldest street tree – the Melbourne Rd Oak, in Stocksbridge:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

Cllr Scott is most remembered for his ill-informed opinions and misleading statements. For example, on 5th April 2014, Cllr Scott was asked:

“Will you be urging the Council to formally adopt a city wide Tree Strategy, as defined and recommended by the ‘Trees in Towns 2’ report, commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, published in 2008?”

AS SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT, RECYCLING AND STREETSCENE, Cllr Scott responded the same day, as follows:

“WE DO NOT presently HAVE A STRATEGY solely for trees. MY VIEW IS TAT (sic) THIS WOULDN’T BE VERY HELPFUL given they are an intrinsic part of the broader environment and ecology. However, I am confident that we have adopted very good practice in this area
[…]
In my view, current documents are sufficient.”

SOURCES:

http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

****
This content was originally posted at the following site:
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

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