Another tough week or so on the streets. But despite this, we believe the campaign has never been at a stronger point. Hopefully in reading this email you’ll see why.
The felling crews were out for four out of five days last week. Again with a massive police presence, usually around 30 police at any one point in time. Plus all the usual private security, evidence gatherers, and felling crew. Three roads were targeted. Abbeydale Park Rise (in Dore) on Monday and Friday, Thornsett Road on Tuesday, and Kenwood Road on Thursday. For their efforts, they managed to fell three trees (one on Abbeydale Park Rise, two on Kenwood Road), and take a third of the canopy off a further tree, on Thornsett Road.
All of us were understandably upset on Kenwood Road in particular on Thursday. Hearing the chainsaws and seeing the two lovely Lime trees coming down was heartbreaking. But three and a third trees in a week is grindingly slow progress. There are still 159 threatened trees in Nether Edge and Carter Knowle, and a further 150ish across the rest of the city. At their current rate of progress, that’s around another 100 weeks of felling attempts. Amey, the Police and virtually everyone else knows this. But the Council so far refuse to accept it, wanting to crush the campaign that has caused them so much embarrassment.
More arrests were made last week, including many de-arrests. But it is hard to keep up with the number. Particularly given many of the arrests are based on completely fabricated and/or trumped up charges which are dropped later.
The crazy situation is drawing heavy national media attention. The Daily Mail ran a large article, and BBC investigative journalists have been filming events. The Yorkshire Post has always been very supportive of the campaign and has reported most days. Even the Sheffield Star, which struggles to criticise the Council because of all the advertising funding it receives from them, had a front page headline criticising the current situation.
The situation has again led to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Billings, to say that the situation requires a political solution. It is clear that, whilst the Police are working closely with Amey and Sheffield Council, they are very uncomfortable about this. All of you reading this email should write to the Police and complain about the situation.
Also, after 14 months, the Information Commissioner forced Sheffield Council to release Schedule 2 of the PFI contract in a mostly un-redacted form. This freedom of information request was made in January 2017, and only now has the information we wanted been revealed, thanks to the Information Commissioner’s intervention. Schedule 2 includes all of the targets and performance metrics that Amey are required to meet. It confirms (something we always suspected) that there is a target for perfectly straight kerb lines, with no deviations. This despite it NOT being a legal requirement in Highways Act legislation. In other words, an unnecessary target about straight kerb lines is being used to justify the removal of between 33% and 50% of the already felled and threatened trees.
Another one of the targets revealed in Schedule 2 is that 17,500 street trees will be felled by the end of the 25 year contract. So that’s another 11,800 trees more felled above the ones already felled. In other words, 50% of all Sheffield’s street trees will have been felled by the end of the contract. The Council have said repeatedly on the record that there is no tree felling numbers target, including in court. Clearly the Council have been brazenly lying!
Unfortunately it was unlucky thirteen today for the beautiful tree outside the Bridge Club on Thornsett Road, Netheredge.
Despite having members who support the tree campaign, including the Rustlings Road two, the Bridge Club Committee decided to deny Garden Permission, which could possibly have saved the tree.
One person was arrested while peacefully defending the tree. Over 50 Tree Defenders were spread out around the very large workzone; they joined in chanting led by two people with heroically loud voices.
The attack started shortly after 10am and finished at 5:45pm with tree protestors slow walking in front of the convoy of Acorn trucks and herras barriers as they left. There were fewer police in attendance today, 12 at mid day, plus the CCTV van. Usual number (30) of Yellow jackets plus the 3 man Acorn Arb team to climb and chop.
Do listen on catch up to Brian Lodge on this mornings’ Toby Foster at Breakfast – BBC Radio Sheffield.
I love a comedy turn in the morning.
Eyes on the roads all areas tomorrow.
POWER TO THE PEACEFUL
We are not going away.
Thanks as always for your continued support