by Paul Brooke, STAG co-chair.
From the outset the legal advice to us was that the Council would be able to make an area around a tree to be felled subject to the Injunction and that the Persons Unknown definition was going to be extended to cover all aspects of the injunction terms.
Justice Males had indicated previously that ‘geckoing’ was not a ‘loophole’ but a correct interpretation of the wording originally used. He stated that in most ordinary circumstances one would assume that a 3 sided barrier using a garden wall as the fourth side adjacent to the pavement would be reasonable, but that the wording resulted in the need for a fourth barrier. We were advised that the Judge would accept this needed to change.
The new wording means that the Council can consider a private wall demarcates (shows you where the edge of the area is) the safety zone area and that you are prohibited from standing on any bit of the pavement up the private wall. Even if they use something to demarcate the private wall (barrier tape, cones, barrier or garden peas), getting behind that and being on the pavement may result in you being in contempt.
The new definition essentially means that a Person Unknown is someone who does any of the actions prohibited by the Injunction and is not a named defendant.
The proposed injunction prohibited any delay anywhere at anytime. This has now been limited to applying ONLY inside a legal road closure for more than 20 minutes. Delaying contractors anywhere else for any length of time is not a breach of the Injunction.
The wording is complex and and quite possibly open to much interpretation.
“For the avoidance of doubt, actions taking place on private land only are not within the scope of this injunction.”
This means EXACTLY what it says.
Whatever anyone says, if its private land or something on private land- including the wall/fence/hedge demarcating part or all of the safety zone- the Injunction does not apply. We can still stand on and take any action on private walls etc.
We have certainly lost the ability to openly ‘gecko’ and Persons Unknown is now not limited but defined by the terms of the injunction.
I am writing this (doing this action in its entirety) whilst sitting in my house on private land and “For the avoidance of doubt, actions taking place on private land only are not within the scope of this injunction”
We can only deal with and prepare for the existing reality. Currently that is contained within the Court papers that specifies the 306 trees that ‘remain’ from the Core Investment Period cull are due for felling. Until we have something in writing that sets out a new reality from the Council, we prepare to continue to resist and defend our healthy trees.
Until we have a proper strategy and management plan for our urban forest for the next 20 years, none of them are safe in the hands of our Council.
P.S. Please avoid discussions on tactical ideas – use private messages and link with people you trust.