Leaves rustling ever louder

Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield
Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield
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Here is a new year update to the Rustlings Road tree saga for all those Councillors who continued to malign campaigners and still seek to use this issue for political nonsense.

Council: We look at 25 different solutions before deciding to fell a tree.

Not quite: SCC’s head of Highway maintenance confirmed that only eight had been used; that they were not all really satisfactory and the rest were either impractical, inappropriate to mature trees, or unaffordable.

Council: Felling trees is always a last resort.

Not quite: If this were the case, there couldn’t be any meaning to the tree surveys that then ask people if they agree to the felling, or to the Independent tree Panel (ITP) who are asked to comment on the proposals – while a simple site reappraisal on Rustlings Road ‘saved’ more than a quarter of those proposed to be felled.

Council: We will continue to look to save trees when we dig out the footway before they are felled.

Not quite: The trees were felled well before any footpath works or excavations.

Council: Trees needed to be felled as the pavement ridging they caused was responsible for numerous trips and falls.

Not quite: A Freedom of Information (FOI) response appears to confirm no relevant successful compensation claims for tree-related injuries. Plus, the ridging there could be readily absorbed within nationally acceptable regrading criteria.

Council: Campaigners trying to keep trees are discriminatory against disabled people and those with buggies trying to use the street.

Not quite: A succession of disabled persons’ representatives failed to report any such issues – including their own Independent Tree Panel (ITP) – while, for the 500 or so runners who manage to negotiate the road’s footpaths every Saturday morning at speed without tripping, a dozen or so also push a buggy in front of them without catapulting their offspring

Council: Highway Tree Advisory Forums will be held bi-monthly for ‘anyone who cares about the trees on Sheffield’s streets’ to hear a variety of experts debate how they should be managed.

Not quite: There were only two – the last was on September 2, 2015, and the council can’t even confirm who was on the panel.

Council: Promised a council strategy to guide the management for all the city’s trees

Not quite: The highway trees section was drafted separately by Amey/Streets Ahead and this informed the wider trees and woodlands strategy – the result appears to be that highway trees escape the aims of the rest of the strategy’s terms.

Council: Fourteen of the so-called ‘25 solutions’ are at no cost to the council as being maintenance solutions in a maintenance contract.

Not quite: Despite the ITP recommending the retention of four of the Rustlings Road trees using only these ‘free’ methods, the council still said it would cost around £10,000 a tree to save them.

Council: There is no redaction in the tree section of the contract and all of this information is in the public realm and available for viewing.

Not quite: Tree- related clauses appear to be in outline terms and refer to an appended schedule which has not been released.

Council: All Streets Ahead staff hold the appropriate qualifications, training and experience to carry out their duties.

Not quite: Streets Ahead admit they appear to have fallen short of their standards – but every complaint about activities seems to be met with another promise of further training to prevent future issues.

Council: Flexi™-Pave has been used on 143 occasions in 2015 to save trees.

Not quite: an FOI response confirmed that it had never been used – and locations for future use had not been identified.

This is a relatively short list from the many instances of apparent misdirection that have occurred over the brief history of the campaign.

Are the councillors – cited as responsible en masse in the so-called apology – really proud of this record of a process that they continually seek to promote?

Their divisive, disenfranchising survey results should be healed by the planting of trees where there are none – not the removal of healthy trees where they exist. Meanwhile, for all the new peaceful campaign members awakened by the Council’s handling of the Rustlings Road saga; do be aware and happy New Year.

And hopefully you will still hear the Rustling leaves, ever louder across the city.

AR

by email

Buy British stickers

As part of Brexit, the government has a major opportunity to help British manufacturing to grow, at the same time as reducing our import bills.

Once again, permit large ‘Buy British’ stickers and notices on all goods sourced by retailers from the UK.

This practice was, of course, hugely curtailed by Brussels.

I would even suggest a TV advertising campaign explaining, in basic terms, why and how this could give the nation a massive economic boost.

Les Arnott

Athelstan Rd, Sheffield, S13

Drainpipes on way back

I don’t know if you have noticed but men’s trouser legs are getting narrower.

You could say that the 1950s drainpipes are on the way back.

It’s either that or tailors are looking at ways of saving on materials, which in turn would reduce their costs.

Either way the pantalons are looking good.

It’s just a matter of getting into them.

Being a slim jim would help.

EB Warris

by email

Let police do their jobs

Who knows what happened in Huddersfield on the night a man was shot by the police.

Hopefully, we will know the facts soon as to what’s been going on.

But the police are now getting a bashing for this shooting.

I am all for the police doing what they need to in fighting crime. As long as we can sleep safer in our beds at night let them do their jobs.

Jayne Grayson

by email

Who profits from trees?

Who is profiting from the sale of the felled trees seeing as log burners are ever more popular?

PH Siddall

Fairburn Gardens Brinsworth Rotherham