STAG Steering Group meeting notes – 6th October 2020

1. Update on the Joint Investigations Process

1.1 This needs clarity from Amey and SCC on timelines and plans for the four sub-categories within the 309 CIP trees. 

1.2 The four sub-categories of trees are:

  a. Trees that SCC and Amey agree will be retained, but which haven’t been formally announced

  b. Trees that are on roads which need “whole road solutions”

  c. Trees that Amey still want to fell

  d. Trees that still need to be jointly investigated.

1.3 So far there has only been an update to Christine on one of the above sub-categories. That is the 40 (ish) trees that still need jointly investigating. 

1.4 On the topic of trees that still need Joint Investigations, Darren Butt has pushed the date on this back to January 2021 at the earliest. He wants to ensure SCC decisions on the other three sub-categories are made first, as he believes this will give Amey greater freedom to work around and save the 40 remaining trees to be investigated. This made sense to Steering Group. 

1.5 On the other three sub-categories, Christine agreed to take these away and press Darren for clarity

2. New dead and diseased trees which Amey are identifying for felling

2.1 SG agreed that Helen Kemp is doing an amazing job of keeping a record of all the new felling recommendations, which are coming through in dribs and drabs, not always from the agreed sources.

2.2 Karen Ramsey (SCC) has recently started sharing Amey felling recommendations with the Street Tree Strategy Partnership Group. These are different trees to the ones Helen is made aware of via Amey. Paul S questioned whether anyone understood how they all related to each other. Nobody did know and Helen in particular agreed that we needed to understand the relationship.

2.3 Paul S agreed to take an action to speak to Karen. 

2.4 (Update – Paul has spoken to Karen who was also confused and she has agreed to speak to Darren to clarify matters)

3. LGO Criticism of SCC

3.1 The highly critical report into SCC by the LGO is due for publication on 14th October.

3.2 Yorkshire Post will be reporting on this. 

3.3 Other Steering Group members felt that further urgent press work was probably needed as soon as the report was published, so Heather took an action to speak to Chris Rust to re-convene the STAG media group for this one day.

4. Future of STAG

4.1 The draft constitution has not yet been shared with Steering Group members.

4.2 Heather gave an update to say that Chris Rust would be sharing the draft this week.

4.3 She would then set up an additional STAG Steering Group video call next week to discuss and sign off the draft.

5. STAG Bank Account

5.1 Paul S raised the issue again of the SNET bank account which will be closed in December or January and that therefore STAG needed to set up its own bank account asap.

5.2 Understandably it can’t be set up until the constitution is agreed but this means the issue is becoming more urgent.

5.3 Paul S emphasised how long it had taken to set up the SNET account and that it could take anything up to 6 months to set up the STAG account from the application to having a functioning account. 

5.4 This means that when the SNET bank account closed, significant money would need to be moved to someone’s personal account, until the STAG account was open. Heather reported that Chris R was ok with this scenario at present. However Paul S reminded SG that some of the money in the SNET account was donated on the basis it would not go into a personal account and that there may be significant legal implications if a fully constituted organisation used a personal account. 

5.5 Heather agreed to consider these points again with Chris.

6. Communications to STAG Supporters about Street Tree Strategy

6.1 Rebecca raised this agenda item to consider how feedback from the Street Tree Strategy Partnership Group could be shared with wider STAG Facebook Group supporters.

6.2 Paul S was unable to take on additional work in this area so Heather agreed to do a fortnightly post on the STAG Facebook page.

7. HS2 posts on the STAG Facebook Group

7.1 There have been lots of these recently, and the comments thread nearly always became argumentative which then caused the moderators lots of work.

7.2 Banning HS2 posts was suggested but some Steering Group members disagreed with that measure. A compromise was therefore agreed whereby one post about HS2 per week would be allowed.

7.3 Lee Armstrong undertook to speak to the person who is the main poster on HS2 matters on the Stag FB page.

8. Independent Inquiry

8.1 Russell Johnson updated Steering Group members to say that Justin Buxton had agreed to be a member of the “Future STAG” Steering Group, when that was set up, and would lead on the continuing call for an Independent Inquiry.

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