Local election candidates responses to STAG’s Street Tree Manifesto

STAG is not a party political organisation, however we are aware that tree felling has become a political issue for many of our supporters. In this spirit we have invited all local candidates to respond to the issues presented in the Street Tree Manifesto so that voters can judge for themselves.

The time available to organise all this has been brief and, due to difficulties in making contact, many of the candidates only received our request on 25th April. We appreciate that this does not allow much time for candidates to reply but hope that they will engage with our request.

We will update the links below as and when new information comes in.

Responses by electoral ward

Beauchief & Greenhill; Beighton; Birley; Broomhill & Sharrow ValeBurngreaveCityCrookes & Crosspool; Darnall; Dore & Totley; East Ecclesfield; Ecclesall; Firth Park; FulwoodGleadless ValleyGraves ParkHillsboroughManor CastleMosboroughNether Edge & SharrowPark & ArbourthorneRichmondShiregreen & BrightsideSoutheyStanningtonStocksbridge & Upper DonWalkleyWest Ecclesfield; Woodhouse.

Response by political party

Labour & Liberal Democrats response for wards without individual candidate responses. 

 

Posted in Uncategorized
7 comments on “Local election candidates responses to STAG’s Street Tree Manifesto
  1. Anthony Cronshaw says:

    I support an immediate termination of SCC contract with AMEY and a stop to all tree felling
    If I’m elected for Birley on 3 May
    I’ll be insisting those twigs are replaced by mature cherry blossom trees
    Also lets support de hood fighting closure and get these facilities for every kid in Sheffield

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  2. Judith Rutnam says:

    Please could you add my response to your local candidates’ responses section – the more support for the trees, the better! Thank you. Judith Rutnam, Fulwood ward

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  3. Lammergeier says:

    “STREET TREE MASSACRE” – a response to Cllr Peter Price
    The following letter was published in The Star on Saturday 21st January 2017 (the day of the STAG conference)
    This is the unredacted version. The parts edited out by The Star appear in upper case.
    “Dear Editor,
    Cllr Peter Price asked why people rarely mention woodland planting. To explain, he has received two very detailed petition hand-outs from tree groups, distributed to every Councillor in the city, by Sheffield City Council. These are online at Stocksbridge Community Forum. The Council frequently mention woodland planting and tree numbers. I suspect this is intended to distract attention from and cover for their RECKLESS, INCOMPETENT approach to the stewardship and care of the highway tree population.
    Cllr Price wonders why people didn’t object so strongly to felling prior to the contract for the £2.2bn Streets Ahead project. Then, the Council did not have a contract that permitted the felling of 67.7% of mature highway trees within a generation. Nor did it permit contractors to cause such damage to trees, through total disregard for current good practice, that many of them would be likely to need felling.
    “Sheffield City Strategy 2010–2020” lists sustainability as one of Sheffield’s “Five Key Ambitions”. In Feb 2016, the Council published “Sheffield’s Green Commitment – The Final Report of the Sheffield Green Commission “. This highlighted the health, social, economic and environmental benefits of green infrastructure. A Venn diagram is used to show the relationship between each of these and represent a “triple bottom line”. At the centre of the diagram, uniting all benefits, is a circle with the word “sustainable” in it.
    On 16/10/2016, the UN published “FAO Forestry Paper 178”, stating: “urban forests are the backbone of the green infrastructure”. It specifically recognises “street trees” as part of the urban forest.
    “THE UK FORESTRY STANDARD” (UKFS) SETS THE STANDARD FOR SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY IN THE UK. IT APPLIES TO “ALL UK FOREST TYPES AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS, INCLUDING THE COLLECTIVE TREE AND WOODLAND COVER IN URBAN AREAS”: THE URBAN FOREST.
    Sustainable urban forestry is about maintenance and optimisation of the shape size and distribution of canopy cover in each land use category, and maintenance of the range and magnitude of valuable eco-system service benefits that it affords to communities and the environment: enhancing health and well-being. Attempts to offset loss by planting in other land use categories are misguided, ill-informed, ineffective, and do not represent CURRENT good practice. Only focussing on the number of trees does not represent a sustainable approach or responsible stewardship and care of Sheffield’s urban forest AND ITS VARIOUS TREE POPULATIONS.
    When SORT presented their 10,000 signature petition to full Council, on 1/7/2015, the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport (Cllr Terry Fox) ANNOUNCED: “We had an independent survey done in 2006-2007 which helps us inform our priorities for the formation of the contract…”. This was undertaken by Elliott Consultancy Ltd. In 2007, ELLIOTT RECOMMENDED THAT THE COUNCIL HAVE A TREE STRATEGY:
    “A formal document; RATIFIED BY THE COUNCIL; detailing policies; DETAILING BEST PRACTISE; DETAILING PROCEDURES; outlining the goals and objectives”.
    When the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership closed, the Director South Yorkshire Forest (Johanna Mawson) informed, on 29th Oct 2016:
    “Also for SYFP one of the biggest challenges has been the LACK OF ANY STRATEGIC WORKING CONTEXT from within council, in our case THE PLACE DIRECTORATE, and specifically in respect to the Key challenges for SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING and projects.
    …There is also NO COMMITTED RESOURCE for the Green Commission and NO DELIVERY STRATEGY in place. All capacity for developing environmental sustainability for Sheffield has been eroded at an alarming rate and although austerity is a factor LACK OF PROACTIVE POSITIVE MANAGEMENT is a more fundamental problem.”
    It is of great concern that, to date, the Council has still neglected to adopt an adequate tree strategy, drafted in accordance with current good practice, in fulfilment of its six year old policy commitment to have one. AS A MATTER OF IMMEDIATE PRIORITY, a tree strategy is urgently needed, TO HELP ENSURE THAT ACTS AND OMISSIONS ARE BALANCED, PROPORTIONATE, AUDITABLE, DEFENDABLE AND NOT UNDULY INFLUENCED BY TRANSITORY OR EXAGGERATED OPINIONS.
    Prior to the Streets Ahead contract, there was greater openness, honesty, transparency, accountability and better communication. Secrecy, misinformation, ignorance, deceit & lies erode trust, credibility and support. Perhaps the Council should START PUTTING in place steps to ensure fulfilment of the policy commitment it made on 3rd Feb 2016: “to being open and transparent with the Sheffield public ensuring all relevant information is available in the public domain.”
    D.Long (Urban Forester and former highways arboriculturist).
    Source:
    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/the-farce-continues/#comment-1542
    To date, SORT – Sheffield’s first tree group – has provided two very detailed communications that have been distributed to every Councillor in the city, as petition hand-outs. They were DISTRIBUTED TO EVERY COUNCILLOR IN SHEFFIELD by SCC’s John Turner (Democratic Services Legal and Governance Resources), prior to meetings of full Council held in Sheffield’s Town Hall. The meetings took place on 1st July 2015 (SORT) and 3rd February, 2016 (Nether Edge). Versions of the hand-outs are available from SORT or STAG.

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  4. Lammergeier says:

    NOTE:
    The SORT petition hand-out was published (on 25th June, 2015) in support of the Save Our Rustlings Trees (SORT) campaign, in preparation for “debate” by city councillors at a meeting of Sheffield City Council, on Wednesday 1st July, 2015, when SORT presented their petition (4,693 signatures online plus an additional >5,307 on paper). The original document was 27 pages long. Amendments were made and an additional two pages were added, by SORT, prior to distribution as a 29 page petition hand-out on 26th June 2015.
    The hand-out was used, later, to form the bulk of a letter that the Save Our Roadside Trees group (formerly Save Our Rustlings Trees), addressed to Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, dated 14th July 2015. This letter is on the STAG website:
    https://savesheffieldtreesorguk.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/sort-letter-to-the-cabinet-member-for-environment-and-transport-14th-july-20152.pdf
    In the letter, SORT reiterated the need for SCC to adopt a strategic approach to decision-making, policy, management and practice. SORT highlighted the necessity for SCC to formally adopt and implement a comprehensive tree strategy as Council policy, with detailed policies and plans, to guide, inform, and help ensure adequate transparency, consistency and accountability, and that acts and omissions are adequately planned, integrated, reasonable, fair, balanced and proportionate.
    SORT asserted that a tree strategy is necessary and is the most appropriate way for SCC to fulfil policy commitments, statutory duties, and comply with current good practice guidance and recommendations.
    The letter makes the case that Street trees are part of Sheffield’s urban forest – a significant component of green infrastructure – and that, as such, the benefits they afford to the environment & communities (including people) should be valued and that the resource should be managed SUSTAINABLY, as defined by the UK Forestry Standard. It urges SCC to apply the precautionary principle (adopted by the United Nations in 1992) and implement a precautionary approach, with adequate, appropriate assessments undertaken by competent people.
    The topics of risk, liability and legal duties are addressed and suggestions are made on how to best ensure that mature trees can be safely retained long-term.

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    • Lammergeier says:

      CLLR FOX’S RESPONSE TO THE SORT COMMUNICATION DATED 14th JULY, 2015
      None of the content below has been altered in any way, other than to protect the identity of the SORT representative. The SORT representative has given permission for this information to be shared in this way.
      From: Terry.Fox2@sheffield.gov.uk
      To: xxxx
      CC: David.Wain@sheffield.gov.uk; steve.robinson@sheffield.gov.uk; James.Winters@sheffield.gov.uk; Julie.Dore@sheffield.gov.uk
      Subject: Re: Unanswered letter
      Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 14:46:06 +0000
      Hi xxxx
      The answers to your e mail below are the following
      The contract appears to allow the Council to monitor the Contractor’s work, attending meetings, carrying out surveys and inspections, calling for trials, etc., and to deal with any breaches of their obligations. May we be assured that the Authority is exercising those powers?
      Yes, we can confirm that SCC holds regular meetings with Amey managing contractual performance, as well as carrying out surveys, inspections and calling for trials. We can also confirm that SCC deal robustly with any breaches in obligations on the part of Amey, and that the Authority are exercising these powers.
      May we be assured that that measures exist to ensure that qualified arboricultural inspectors are competent arboriculturists, as defined within British Standard 3998 (2010)?
      Yes, we can confirm that all arboricultural inspectors are competent arboriculturalists as defined in BS 3998.
      may we similarly be assured that they are being independently inspected by appropriately qualified inspectors, and there are measures in place to ensure that qualified inspectors keep abreast of developments in best practice and have relevant and recognised expertise, by way of education, training and experience, through a programme of continued professional development?
      Yes, we can confirm that both the Council and Amey have a CPD process in place
      Regards Terry
      *****
      Source:
      https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/updated-report-from-technotronic-letter-to-sheffield-city-council-on-street-trees/#comment-811
      Note:
      At the time, Councillor Terry Fox (Labour) was the Sheffield City Council Cabinet Member For Environment & Transport.

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  5. Lammergeier says:

    Extracts From Cllr Fox’s Speech, As SCC CABINET MEMBER FOR ENVIRONMENT & TRANSPORT, At The Meeting Of Full Council: 1st July, 2015
    “And it’s also welcoming, Lord Mayor, that, as decision-makers in this Town Hall, we have our policies and procedures to scrutinise not by only by us in this place but scrutinised by the public…
    We had an independent survey done in 2006-2007* which HELPS US INFORM OUR PRIORITIES FOR THE FORMATION OF THE CONTRACT…
    THE PROCESS IS THAT AMEY MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO COUNCIL about which trees, in their expert opinion, should be removed by the highway, and in which categories.
    THE COUNCIL WILL THEN ASSESS EACH INDIVIDUAL TREE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEN MAKE A DECISION ABOUT WHETHER THAT TREE SHOULD BE FELLED OR NOT.
    Lord Mayor, sometimes WHEN WE plant and PLANE THE TOPS, WE IDENTIFY THAT WE HAVE ROOT PROBLEMS OR NOT, is if we have not then we obviously do not take that tree. TAKING THE TREE IS THE LAST RESORT, Lord Mayor.
    THE SHEFFIELD HIGHWAY TREE STRATEGY CONSISTS OF THE SIX D’s: dangerous; dead, dying, diseased, damaging and discriminatory.
    By incident, Lord Mayor, if I may, on to Rustlings Road. There are over thirty trees on Rustlings Road. … Out of the eleven that have been identified to be felled, three have been noticed, and that ONCE WE DIG UP THE PAVEMENT, as I say,
    ONCE WE TAKE THAT PLANING OFF, IF THEY CAN BE RETAINED, THEY WILL.
    I have said on numerous occasions that ONCE AMEY DESIGNATE THE TREES THEY WANT TO FELL, THE COUNCIL GO AND DO THEIR INDEPENDENT CHECKS. Lord Mayor, ANY FELLING OF A TREE IS A LAST RESORT.
    Other, not only cities in England, in Britain, but in Europe are watching how we manage this, Lord Mayor, and I’ve to do that; we have to take everybody with us.
    As I say, I believe, Lord Mayor, because this is such a delicate and in-depth debate, I’ve suggested the Council will endorse an Highways Tree Forum, where, as we have already heard, so MANY BIG ISSUES NEED TO BE TALKED THROUGH and, also, we are we are not – we are not – able to drive, forget the pun.
    OUR POLICY IS STILL THAT WE WANT TO CROSS-CHECK THEM, not only with methods in this place, but WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS AND LOCAL CONSERVATION GROUPS.
    Lord Mayor, I’D LIKE TO CONGRATULATE THESE, ERR, CAMPAIGNERS, RESIDENTS AND PEOPLE who feel very strongly about our city, BECAUSE WITHOUT THEM, Lord Mayor, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DELIVER OUR PROJECTS together.”
    Source:
    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/sheffield-tree-campaign-back-in-the-national-news-in-the-guardian/#comment-1312
    * The consultant’s presentation of the survey results and recommendations can be found here:
    https://savesheffieldtreesorguk.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/elliott_scc_highway-tree-survey-2006-07.pdf
    In is probably best read together with this:
    https://ianswalkonthewildside.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/the-scandal-over-sheffelds-trees-grows-with-16000-indicated-for-the-chop/#comment-2103

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  6. Lammergeier says:

    Note to moderator:

    When I posted the above contributions, there were spaces in appropriate places, such as between paragraphs, to aid the reader. For some strange reason, in the time between posting the contributions and you making them visible, all line spacing has been removed. Please take greater care when activating content. Perhaps there are some site settings that need to be adjusted?

    L

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