Western Road Memorial Tree Report

Marcus Combie made this Freedom of Information request to Sheffield City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sheffield City Council, hope you are well.

REFERENCE 1: http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDeci...

I'm after the following recorded information if you hold it around the statement decision 15.1 of the reference above, and associated documents.

"that Amey be commissioned to carry out outline design work for tree retention works in sufficient detail to enable an estimate of the level of additional funding needed to be provided to Cabinet."

Regarding work commissioned:

Request 1: Could you please provide details of recorded information if any cost was associated commission of the design work / report by Amey. If there was a cost due to out of scope nature of the commission could you please provide details on amount.

Request 2: Could please provide recorded information related to the request sent to Amey outlining the scope of work required/terms of reference/remit of commission essentially I am seeking recorded information that outline what SCC commissioned Amey to carry out. This could be communication or discussion about the scope of work and the go ahead to carry it out.

Request 3: Can you please supply recorded information and any notification email / communication which inform SCC officer or councillor the report is complete, and as such may include a copy of the report of informing them of it's location. If responsive records are found and there are previous or subsequent emails within the thread of trail can these also be provided.

REFERENCE 2: http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...

Request 4: Can you please supply a copy of any deliverables/documents produced by Amey as part of this commission. NB I am aware of the following SCC document (REFERENCE 2) and the source of the appendix documents such as costing and design diagrams maybe part of but not limited to the deliverables/documents held by SCC.

REFERENCE 3 : Working group document
http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...

In REFERENCE 3 the following is stated:

" At a meeting with officers on 4th April the Scrutiny Working Group was made aware that Amey had carried out further exploratory works in early March, proactively lifting slabs, and carrying out air spading1 to see what can be retained but from that work no additional retention solutions could be identified."

And in REFERENCE 2:

"The Council carried out a further detailed review including Airspade excavations to
check root locations and found that it could not agree with the ITP advice
on any of the 12 trees they proposed engineering works for. "

Request 5: Can you please supply recorded information regarding the 'further detailed review', such as the deliverables/documents produced. This should include but not be limited to the results of the Airspade investigation carried.

Request 6: If any cost was associated with further detailed review as referred to previously could you please indicate the cost.

Overall note for both reviews/submissions if there was no upfront cost associated work carried out by Amey, but it was allocated as job and funding for it was provided within the scope of the financial agreement could you please state.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking you to provide every record that might possibly relate to this subject, so if searching the senior officer's e-mails identifies some that provide enough information to satisfy this request, there is no need to also search paper records and the e-mails and other records of more junior staff as well.

Yours faithfully,

Marcus Combie

FOI, Sheffield City Council

Dear Marcus Combie,
 
Thank you for your recent request for information relating to Western Road
Memorial Tree Report which we received on 08/11/18.
 
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 06/12/18.
 
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: Marcus Combie [[2]mailto:[FOI #531225 email]]
Sent: 08 November 2018 18:05
To: FOI
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Western Road Memorial Tree
Report
 
Dear Sheffield City Council, hope you are well.
 
REFERENCE 1:
[3]http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/ieDeci...
 
I'm after the following recorded information if you hold it around the
statement decision 15.1 of the reference above, and associated documents.
 
"that Amey be commissioned to carry out outline design work for tree
retention works in sufficient detail to enable an estimate of the level of
additional funding needed to be provided to Cabinet."
 
Regarding work commissioned:
 
Request 1: Could you please provide details of recorded information if any
cost was associated commission of the design work / report by Amey. If
there was a cost due to out of scope nature of the commission could you
please provide details on amount.
 
Request 2: Could please provide recorded information related to the
request sent to Amey outlining the scope of work required/terms of
reference/remit of commission essentially I am seeking recorded
information that outline what SCC commissioned Amey to carry out. This
could be communication or discussion about the scope of work and the go
ahead to carry it out.
 
Request 3: Can you please supply recorded information and any notification
email / communication which inform SCC officer or councillor  the report
is complete, and as such may include a copy of the report of informing
them of it's location. If responsive records are found and there are
previous or subsequent emails within the thread of trail can these also be
provided.
 
REFERENCE 2:
[4]http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...
 
Request 4: Can you please supply a copy of any deliverables/documents
produced by Amey as part of this commission. NB I am aware of the
following SCC document (REFERENCE 2) and the source of the appendix
documents such as costing and design diagrams maybe part of  but not
limited to the deliverables/documents held by SCC.
 
REFERENCE 3 : Working group document
[5]http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/docume...
 
In REFERENCE 3 the following is stated:
 
" At a meeting with officers on 4th April the Scrutiny Working Group was
made aware that Amey had carried out further exploratory works in early
March, proactively lifting slabs, and carrying out air spading1 to see
what can be retained  but from that work no additional retention solutions
could be identified."
 
And in REFERENCE 2:
 
"The Council carried out a further detailed review including Airspade
excavations to check root locations and found that it could not agree with
the ITP advice on any of the 12 trees they proposed engineering works for.
"
 
Request 5: Can you please supply recorded information regarding the
'further detailed review', such as the deliverables/documents produced.
This should include but not be limited to the results of the Airspade
investigation carried.
 
Request 6: If any cost was associated with  further detailed review as
referred to previously could you please indicate the cost.
 
Overall note for both reviews/submissions if there was no upfront cost
associated work carried out by Amey, but it was allocated as job and
funding for it was provided within the scope of the financial agreement
could you please state.
 
For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking you to provide every record
that might possibly relate to this subject, so if searching the senior
officer's e-mails identifies some that provide enough information to
satisfy this request, there is no need to also search paper records and
the e-mails and other records of more junior staff as well.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Marcus Combie
 
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show quoted sections

Mr Long left an annotation ()

A LETTER THE STAR REFUSED TO PUBLISH
(Dated 3rd March, 2017)

*****
WW1 MEMORIAL TREES

“Amey and Sheffield City Council (SCC) have informed residents of Western Rd (Crookes) that investigation work will take place between 6th & 10th March 2017, to help determine whether or not any of the 25 ideas that SCC have listed as ‘solutions’ would be reasonably practicable to use to retain the trees. Like most healthy, mature street trees scheduled for felling by the Streets Ahead team (SA), with scores of years of safe useful life expectancy ahead of them, the Western Rd WW1 memorial trees are scheduled for felling because of their association with damage – primarily to footways and kerbs. Trees could be safely retained long term, by use of adequate, alternative highway engineering specifications for construction and repair.

In October 2015, when such investigations were scheduled for Rustlings Road, the team responsible for the £2.2bn Streets Ahead Highway maintenance project, and SCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox), made the following invitation to SORT:

‘You are welcome to provide your own representation and SCRUTINY of the excavation area should SORT have any interested parties with the appropriate technical knowledge or background wishing to attend.’

SORT accepted the invitation and invited me to ‘scrutinise’ at site on the day of works. What I witnessed was shocking and amounted to nothing more than a PR stunt. Amey’s senior engineer – NICK HETHERINGTON (former SCC) – was present on site, supervised excavation close to three trees, and undertook the ‘investigations’. His recommendations are those presented to SCC. The process was: 1) to identify three trees associated with the worst footway ‘ridging’ damage; 2) excavate one small pit (@60x60 cm squared) by each tree, through the worst ridge; 3) lay a spirit level across the hole and use a ruler to measure the depth from the spirit level down to the root. That was the totality of the investigation*. This method could not and would not provide any useful information. It is the kind of practice that is more befitting of a rogue trader than a competent professional. No excavations were undertaken prior to felling any of the other 8 trees that were felled on Rustlings Road in November 2016. Mr HETHERINGTON was uncooperative. Each question I asked of him was met with the response: ‘I’m not here today to answer questions’. However, when SORT asked ‘how much depth was needed for the mechanical planer’ (the machine used to grind away tarmac), he informed that 150 mm depth was necessary to lay 20 to 60 mm of tarmac.

In 2007, mature trees (25,877 trees) accounted for 73.8% of the entire population of Sheffield’s street trees. They are the ones most susceptible to ill health and compromised structural integrity as a result of damage caused by use of mowers, strimmers, and machinery used in close proximity to trees during lighting and resurfacing works, such as diggers and planing machines. The prospect of such damage has been used by the SA team to justify the felling of 1000s of healthy, structurally sound, mature highway trees: valuable trees which could otherwise be safely retained, long-term through compliance with current good practice guidance and recommendations (TDAG; BS5837 & NJUG).

Current UK ROAD LIAISON GROUP GUIDANCE, commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT), states:

‘Although ensuring the safety of footways for users will be a priority, in some cases the presence of roadside trees may complicate the provision of footway surface regularity. THE RADICAL TREATMENT OR COMPLETE TREE REMOVAL NECESSARY TO ENSURE SURFACE REGULARITY MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE OR DESIRABLE AND REDUCED LEVELS OF SURFACE REGULARITY MAY BE A MORE ACCEPTABLE OUTCOME.’

Unless SCC & Amey (the contractor for the PFI project) review and revise their opinions, policies and plans, and adjust their acts and omissions to incorporate and implement current good practice, SHEFFIELD STANDS TO LOSE MOST/ALL OF ITS MATURE STREET TREES DURING THE AMEY PFI CONTRACT. Let’s hope Western Rd is not just another PR stunt!

D.Long (BSc Hons Arb)”

* Since sending the letter, the author has added the following:

“In addition to the footway excavations, the kerb stone nearest the stem of each of the three trees was removed and the level and ruler used in similar fashion.”

SOURCE:
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

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

*****
NOTES & REFERENCES
(new links provided)

*****
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”

AUDIO:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2XlyV9w...

QUOTE:
“We’re just in the process of taking some action against Amey… they’ve had financial penalties of TWO MILLION POUNDS last year, because of some of their working practices… two million in one year; IT WAS OVER TWO MILLION”

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”

AUDIO:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2awelpf...

QUOTE:
“We’re having to shave back on where we’re monitoring. So, the money for the maintenance side is in there, but the monitoring – the client management side – is not part of that, and that’s where we’re having to make funding cuts…

THE MONEY THAT WE NEED TO MONITOR THAT CONTRACT IS NOT THERE, because we try to make savings and… where people have left, we haven’t replaced. We’ve done vacancy management, so
WE HAVEN’T GOT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THAT CLIENT MANAGEMENT TEAM WHICH WE OUGHT TO HAVE.”

“Amey_Roadshow_Sharrow_Nether Edge_14th Sept_2016_Enquiries_PFI_Client Team_160914_003_7”

AUDIO:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2kxCH-j...

QUOTE:
“ THE COUNCIL’S PFI CLIENT TEAM. That’s where your enquiry will go, ultimately, yes, in the first instance. THEY’RE THE ONES THAT ENFORCE THE CONTRACT; THEY’RE THE ONES THAT ENFORCE OUR WORKS ON SITE…”

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:
‘6Ds_SCC & AMEY HIGHWAYS INFRASTRUCTURE ASSESSMENT CRITERIA - LICENCE TO KILL_v4’
Link:
https://1drv.ms/b/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2xM8pNC...

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]).

AUDIO:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2pP_LEi...

QUOTE:
“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."

Please note that to date 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]).

AUDIO:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AsWguV74n6x7i2vG8V8l...

QUOTE:
“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.”

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 ()

COMMENT FROM STAG FACEBOOK

POSTED BY IAN CHALLIS, ON 30th July 2018:

Within the main “Streets Ahead Contract” it states:

“28.8 Sample Inspections
The Service Provider shall carry out the SAMPLING INSPECTIONS of the Carriageways and Footways Service, GROUNDS MAINTENANCE SERVICES and the Street Cleaning Services pursuant to Service Standards 2, 6 and 8 of the Output Specification. ”

The sub contract document “SCHEDULE 2: SERVICE STANDARDS” has the following section of text within it:

“1.7. ensure that an ANNUAL TREE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME is developed, approved by the Authority and carried out with all Highway Tree (and trees forming part of Highway Tree Clusters) replacements being UNDERTAKEN HAVING REGARD TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE HIGHWAY TREE REPLACEMENT POLICY ;”

The “Annual Tree Management Programme” that is referred to above is the “5 YEAR TREE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY” document. This has a number of sub versions, but even within the “5 Year Tree Management Strategy 2016 Redacted” it states:

“Ensure a safe tree stock THROUGH GOOD TREE MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION.”

The above does not include the words “watering the trees” but it clearly would be under “Good Industry Practice” to water them so they don’t die.
It should also be noted WITHIN THE MAIN “STREETS AHEAD CONTRACT” DOCUMENT under “PART G – THE SERVICES” (starting on page 154) it states *:

“31. OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE THE SERVICE AND PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

31.1 Standard of Service
The Service Provider shall provide the Service CONTINUOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE TERM:

31.1.1 IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOOD INDUSTRY PRACTICE;

31.1.2 in order to comply fully with Schedule 2 (Output Specification)”

THE SCHEDULE DOCUMENT WHICH IS REFERRED TO above is NOT named as “Output Specifications” however it is clearly the same document which in turn refers within it to “Schedule 6” for some content. Irrelevent “Schedule 2” is still referred to within the original contract under 31.1.2, which on PAGE 38 OF “SCHEDULE 2” REFERS TO THE “5 YEAR TREE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY”.

As the main contract and sub documents, including the schedules and original “Streets Ahead 5 Tree Management Strategy” were all drafted as part of the same document set, and the “Tree Management” strategy was a clearly defined deliverable this makes them contractually linked.
What is also clear is mulitple references within the main contract, schedules and sub documents to “GOOD INDUSTRY PRACTICE” – although it does not state a specific standard the fact this phrase has been used means that AMEY ARE CONTRACTUALLY REQUIRED TO FOLLOW GENERAL INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR CONDUCTING THEIR WORK, AND IF THEY DO NOT THEN THEY ARE BREAKING A CONDITION OF THE CONTRACT.

If it can be demonstrating that general industry best practice is not being kept to by Amey (i.e. Not having a watering plan that suitably supports the trees in developing, not suitably assessing trees before deciding to cut them down, and not suitably using alternative engineering methods to retain existing trees and thus “ensure a safe tree stock through good tree management and protection”) then all these are items THE COUNCIL SHOULD BE USING TO ISSUE WRITTEN WARNINGS TO AMEY TO SUITABLY ADDRESS THROUGH “DISPUTE RESOLUTION” WHICH IS DETAILED IN THE CONTRACT, and if they do not do this then THE COUNCIL CAN SUITABLY TERMINATE THE CONTRACT (which should be at no cost when three disputes have not been addressed to the council’s satisfaction).
In short they are contractually obligated and are hence breaking their contractual obligation not watering them…

SOURCE (see the comments area):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/39291324...

* See page 164 of the PDF listed on the SCC website as ‘Streets Ahead Contract’:
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/dam...

************************************
A range of relevant, current good practice documents can be accessed using this link:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/g...

The first 5Yr document can be accessed via this link:
https://1drv.ms/b/s!AsWguV74n6x7hRUzkJ9-...

The document informs that THE PLAN WAS TO FELL 5,008 TREES DURING THE FIRST FIVE YEARS of the £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ highway maintenance project. A target figure is provided for each part of the city, for each of the 25yrs of the project. The bracketed figures, below, give the target for each part of the city over the first five years of the £2.2 bn highway maintenance contract (to the start of 2018 AD).

South East: 1,370 (445)
South: 2,795 (882)
South West: 3,979 (1,224)

Central: 2,103 (534)

North: 2,420 (715)
North East: 2,939 (763)
East: 1,894 (445)

SOURCE (pages 18 & 19):

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

ALSO SEE:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

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

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

Mr Long left an annotation ()

"DANGEROUS HIGHWAY TREES”
(A letter sent to The Star on 7/12/2016)

*****
“Recently, I have been contacted by citizens concerned that there has been a significant increase in the number of highway trees scheduled for felling on the basis that they are “dangerous” and have “structural integrity issues”. At first, I thought they must have misinterpreted information received. At the first of the two “bi-monthly” Highway Trees Advisory Forum (HTAF) meetings, on 23rd JULY, 2015, which I attended, Sheffield City Council’s HEAD OF HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE (Steve Robinson) informed:

“We had a survey carried out by an independent firm in 2006/2007… So, IN LIGHT OF THAT, the Council, as part of its application to Government for THE STREETS AHEAD PROJECT, RECEIVED FUNDING TO MANAGE THE CITY’S HIGHWAY TREE STOCK. […]

*** So, our underinvestment and underfunding left us with a number of DEAD, DYING AND DANGEROUS trees. Some of you would be surprised that THERE WERE 1,200 TREES THAT WERE WITHIN THAT CATEGORY. So, AMEY IDENTIFIED THOSE TREES AND ADDRESSED THOSE FIRST. […] ***

*** OUR NEXT PRIORITY is to improve the condition of our roads and pavements. So, in other words, deal with the DAMAGING trees – those trees that are damaging kerbs, pavements and drains. […] ****

So, JUST BECAUSE A TREE IS DISEASED DOESN’T MEAN TO SAY THAT THAT TREE NEEDS TO BE REPLACED. …whether it turns out to be dangerous… those judgements are made by tree people. …they have their budget to look after their trees. In terms of damaging… IF AN ENGINEERING SOLUTION CAN BE APPLIED, THEN IT WILL BE APPLIED.”

Curious to see these “dangerous” trees for myself, I have visited a couple of streets in different parts of the city to take a look. What I have discovered is shocking, but not surprising, given the fact that THERE HAS BEEN CONTINUED, WIDESPREAD NON-COMPLIANCE WITH AND DISREGARD FOR A RANGE OF CURRENT GOOD PRACTICE BY SCC & AMEY. It would appear that TREES THAT HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN MAINTAINED BY PRUNING ARE BEING CLASSED AS “DANGEROUS”, on the basis that regrowth could break loose. Such trees can and should be safely retained, long-term, by use of the range of British Standard pruning operations that the Save Our Roadside trees Sheffield Tree Action Group have detailed previously, in a letter dated 29th January 2016 (see Appendix 4*). The letter (available online) was distributed to every Councillor in the city, as a Nether Edge Petition hand-out. TO CLASS ALL SUCH TREES AS “DANGEROUS” IS WHAT I WOULD EXPECT FROM A “ROGUE TRADER” and not what should be expected of reasonably skilled, competent arboriculturists.

The National Tree Safety Group guidance is particularly apt:

“WITH INADEQUATE UNDERSTANDING, so-called defects may be erroneously confused with hazards and, furthermore, hazards with risk – so unless the risk of harm arising from a hazard is properly taken account of, MANAGEMENT CAN BE SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED, POTENTIALLY LEADING TO COSTLY AND UNNECESSARY INTERVENTION.”

In April 2013, The Star reported:

“THE COUNCIL SAID IT WOULD NOT REPLACE TREES WHERE PLANTING A NEW TREE WOULD BE CHEAPER THAN PRUNING THE EXISTING SPECIES.”

In October 2015, Amey’s Operations Manager for the Streets Ahead project (Jeremy Willis) stated:

“IT IS MORE COSTLY TO FELL AND REPLACE A TREE THAN MAINTAIN IT IN THE CURRENT POSITION.”

In December 2015, he stated:

“IF IT IS FELT THAT THE TREE COULD BE SAVED BY PRUNING AND MAINTAINING IT THEN THAT IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN.”

Mature trees accounted for 73.8% of all highway trees (25,877) at the start of the Streets Ahead project (in 2012). Most have been previously pruned and are associated with minor damage to the built environment. If citizens are unwilling to permit Amey to fell most mature highway trees, perhaps it is time to call in Matt Allwright of BBC’s Watchdog?

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

SOURCE:
https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress....

* The SORT letter can be accessed via this link:
http://stocksbridgecommunity.org.archive...

FOI, Sheffield City Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Combie
 
Re: Freedom of Information Request – Reference FOI 1380
 
Thank you for your recent request for information regarding Western Road
Memorial Tree Report which we received on 08/11/18.
 
Please find below, Sheffield City Council’s response to your request:
 
Request 1: Could you please provide details of recorded information if any
cost was associated commission of the design work / report by Amey. If
there was a cost due to out of scope nature of the commission could you
please provide details on amount.
 
This work was commissioned under the Non-Core element of the Streets Ahead
contract. These works are paid for through the monthly bill, the total of
which is published in our transparency spend data available on our open
data site http:data.sheffield.gov.uk. The breakdown of the bill
encompassing payments for these specific works are commercially sensitive
and therefore meet an exception under regulation 12(5)(e) (the
confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such
confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic
interest) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. In this case
the release of the precise payments and make-up of the costs would
adversely affect the commercial interests of both Amey and Sheffield City
Council. Such a disclosure would release the unique pricing structure
utilised by Amey which would put them at a commercial disadvantage to
other providers of the same services. Disclosure could result in the
breakdown of the relationship between Amey and the Council through
inappropriate disclosure and the Council could be in breach of contract
which may lead to financial penalty against the Council at taxpayer
expense. The public interest test considered in this case was balanced in
favour of the application of the exception due to potential detriment and
cost or loss cause by a disclosure to both Amey and the Council. We do
appreciate there is a public interest in the Council’s management of these
specific trees and the costs associated to them particularly due to the
scrutiny around the Council’s management of highway trees but we feel that
in this case the exception applied to provide a legitimate economic
interest.
 
Request 2: Could please provide recorded information related to the
request sent to Amey outlining the scope of work required/terms of
reference/remit of commission essentially I am seeking recorded
information that outline what SCC commissioned Amey to carry out. This
could be communication or discussion about the scope of work and the go
ahead to carry it out.
 
Please see attached works order redacted for officer names and the
commercially sensitive value information as noted above. The scope of the
work was simply to carry out topographical surveys of the roads and
footways affected by all trees proposed for replacement on Western Road
and give outline proposals for methods to retain the trees. Drawings with
overall costings are attached for each location. Officer details meet an
exception from disclosure under Regulations 12(3) and 13.
 
Request 3: Can you please supply recorded information and any notification
email / communication which inform SCC officer or councillor the report is
complete, and as such may include a copy of the report of informing them
of its location. If responsive records are found and there are previous or
subsequent emails within the thread of trail can these also be provided.
 
The drawings and costings described above were completed and loaded onto
our SharePoint site on the 15^th November 2017.
 
Request 4: Can you please supply a copy of any deliverables/documents
produced by Amey as part of this commission. NB I am aware of the
following SCC document (REFERENCE 2) and the source of the appendix
documents such as costing and design diagrams maybe part of but not
limited to the deliverables/documents held by SCC.
 
See answer to Request 2
 
Request 5: Can you please supply recorded information regarding the
'further detailed review', such as the deliverables/documents produced.
This should include but not be limited to the results of the Airspade
investigation carried.
 
It is assumed that this request refers to the statement in para 5.4.1 of
the Cabinet report. This work was carried out by Amey to further
investigate the advice from the ITP. Report document is attached
 
Request 6: If any cost was associated with further detailed review as
referred to previously could you please indicate the cost.
 
No cost was incurred by the Council. The work was undertaken by Amey at
their cost.
 
 
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 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
 
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