City’s green future

Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield
Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield
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Yet more Tree-fabrication? Judge Gilbert had Sheffield Council banged to rights!

In your article of July 13, 2016 ‘Sheffield tree campaigners question council figures ‘flexi-paving’ Coun Bryan Lodge is quoted as saying that flexi paving would have been used on 143 occasions if it weren’t for those ‘pesky’ Tree Campaigners and the High Court action.

Whatever the High Court Judgement was on the merits of the legal action to save some of Sheffield’s healthy Highway Trees, Judge Gilbert was highly critical of the council and Amey’s handling of the Highway Trees issue saying that some of the council’s arguments “were not convoluted, but nonsense!”

Bryan really needs to pull his socks up and get a grip - he seems to be repeating exactly what Judge Gilbert accused the council of – talking nonsense, or worse!

The injunction to stop felling trees was granted on Friday, February 5, 2016. Just three days after that on February 8 a resident received the following FOI (FOI/1305) request response confirming that flexi-paving had been used “frequently” and indeed PAID FOR as part of Street Ahead.

“We can confirm that flexi paving is frequently used as a part of the specific Streets Ahead highway maintenance programme. However, we do not hold a record of the locations of the sites where its use has led to a tree being retained……Flexi pave is one of the treatments used on the Streets Ahead project and is paid for as part of the monthly unitary payment made by the Authority for the delivery of a complete highway maintenance service”

Prior to this any WELL before the injunction, on January 8, 2016 Coun Nikki Bond sent an email to a Netheredge resident that included statements from council officer David Caulfield saying: “Having reviewed the situation I discovered that in fact flexible paving is now routinely used across the city as a tree retention option – it was used 142 (sic) times in 2015.”

This is of course after Coun Fox, Bryan’s predecessor, stated in the Star on December 28, 2015 that flexi paving was used to retain 143 trees.

And yet to date there is no evidence that flexi paving has been used to retain any Highway Street tree – even though the council state that it is regularly paid for!

Is it any wonder, when faced with this sort of ‘convoluted nonsense’ day in day out from the council and Amey, that residents feel so frustrated that they feel the only recourse is to take their council to court?

Come on Bryan – get a grip – try not to repeat all the mistakes of your predecessors.

Why don’t you start to engage in a positive way with concerned residents and take on board their genuine fears for our city’s green future.

John Ruskin

by email