Statement from widely respected Aborist Jeremy Barrell

Yours is a local struggle, so it can sometimes be difficult to see the wider perspective as you do your daily work and try to save trees at the same time.  Are you alone, does anyone else care, or does anyone else even know?

So here’s a bit of perspective to make the point that the Third World politics you are enduring right now may not have been exposed in the past, but, courtesy of the internet, places to hide are diminishing by the day.
In a couple of days, I leave for Australia to speak at this conference:  

http://www.arboriculture.org.au/Events/Conference–Trade-Show-and-Workshops/Urban-International-and-Australian-http://www.arboriculture.org.au/Events/Conference–Trade-Show-and-Workshops/Urban-International-and-Australian-Speakers

It is big, the delegates are well-informed, and there is a formidable array of accomplished international speakers.  I only have 45 minutes, but the first 10 are going to be a detailed review of the political manipulation and misinformation being applied by Sheffield City Council.  And, because I have been up and seen the befores and afters for myself, I will be speaking from first-hand experience, which I find packs a special kind of punch.
The World is quickly learning about what has gone so badly wrong in Sheffield.  So, there is support, it is growing by the day, and you should all keep up the good work.

Jeremy

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Giving nature a home

 

Wildlife crime is an important matter of concern as Amey press on with felling operations in this hit and run fashion. If you believe that they or their contractors have not exercised due diligence with regard to avoiding disturbance to nesting birds, or indeed you have reason to believe they are destroying an active nest site, please try to document as much as possible , including photos or video. Call 101 and ask for an incident reference number. You can then use the form I am linking to here to report the matter to the RSPB legal team

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One of the UK’s Most Well Respected Arboricultural Expert Jeremy Barrell Statement

I attended the ICF Trees, People and the Built Environment international conference last week in Birmingham (http://www.charteredforesters.org/…/icf-trees-people-built…/), attended by about 250 delegates from the UK and many other countries. This is one of the highest profile international tree research conferences, with a worldwide following. I thought you might like to know that the mismanagement being orchestrated by Sheffield City Council and the dubious professional behaviour of Amey was mentioned multiple times on both days, both from the speakers and from the delegates, and none of it was positive. The tree world is alive to the natural asset stripping that is occurring in Sheffield; what can be done about it is another matter, but it is not going unoticed.

More here

Jeremy

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What is middle class about saving trees?

From Page 12 of today’s Sheffield Star

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POLL: Were Sheffield opposition councillors right to walk out of yesterday’s meeting?

I recall a poll in the Star. Oh yes, here it is. 24 hours ish saw 1217 votes cast. 88%, or 1070 of respondents supported the cross- party walkout in support of Alison Teal. Nothing more was heard. Ok, these kinds of polls are unscientific, but they are a ‘barometer’ of sorts. At the same time that this was not making any news at all some snarky petition from a leading party activist was actually making headlines despite then having only the one solitary supporter in a week or so. Press exposure saw support spiralling to four, then seven by the Easter weekend. Seven supporters in two weeks, hmmmm.

Meanwhile, SCC maintain their audacious assertion that tree campaigners are a tiny minority. They should get out more

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Save Sheffield’s Trees Twitter Thunderclap Tue 18th April 2017

HELP SAVE SHEFFIELD’S TREES. Save my home. Join the Thunderclap here and help stop the destruction of our healthy and beneficial street trees for PFI profit. Sheffield City Council have not even read the 25 Year PFI contract! What a Joke!

Whose Trees? Our Trees.. Whose Trees? Nature’s Trees!

Since 2012 AMEY PLC and Sheffield City Council have chopped down approx. 5000 healthy street trees across Sheffield. Along the way they have arrested 14 brave tree protectors using dodgy trade union law. Now they plan to cut down many more healthy and heritage trees including World War One memorials! Their destructive behaviour knows no bounds at a time of high pollution and diminishing habitat.

This is profit led environmental vandalism and is at odds with British values and common sense.

Trees are the lungs of the Earth!

With every mature tree lost there is a loss to people, the planet and to biodiversity in cities. Saplings take time to grow to maturity and cannot match the carbon (CO2) uptake of the healthy existing trees.

Send a loud collective message

Please join the Thunderclap here and send a loud collective message to AMEY PLC and Sheffield City Council.

STOP CHOPPING DOWN OUR TREES!

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS TOO

The Sad Squirrel X

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​Open Letter to Sheffield City Council’s Ruling Labour Group: Time To Talk About The Trees

When you, Sheffield City Council, have lost an argument it’s time to take stock, to stop and to think. Perhaps you may need to reconsider your plans. Maybe things could be done differently. Or you could come out fighting in an attempt to silence your opponents? You could try to discredit those dissenting voices? History is peppered with such efforts. It never ends well. Perhaps you might claim protestors’ actions are illegal when they clearly are not, or imply that they have callous disregard for their fellow citizens. Maybe you will accuse them of some kind of greedy self-interest that jeopardises funding of key public services. You, Sheffield City Council, will tritely play your ‘mythbusting’ games. The unjustifiable felling of healthy trees will not be addressed.
The truth is not a myth and it should be defended. That principle is key to our democratic tradition. Sheffield City Council is using OUR Council Tax to make poorly evidenced accusations about those campaigning to save healthy street trees. None of this ‘mythbusting’ bears much scrutiny. Instead it is a bare-faced attempt to politicise the debate about the fate of thousands of trees. It is, yet again, not a good use of public money.

The reality is that real experts think Sheffield has got the management of healthy street trees very wrong. Street trees matter. Despite Council claims, it is a fact that a small replacement tree will not provide the health and other benefits of a healthy large canopied tree. Nor has the Council accounted for the asset value of the trees removed, which can be many thousands of pounds per tree per year.

Some argue that the ‘mythbusters’ are a true low point that tarnishes local politics by descending into propaganda. That is for the reader to decide. It would be easy enough to go through each ‘myth’ point by point. However, that misses the point. The SCC ‘mythbusters’ are a symptom of a deep-seated failure and a major disconnect between local politicians and large numbers of citizens.

The cure then is not a ‘to and fro’ yah-boo argument where facts are countered by endless Council spin-doctoring. The cure is a constructive and engaged dialogue that takes the concerns of citizens and their many expert advisers seriously, a process that leads to real action. Perhaps a process that leads to the use of widely available engineering solutions to save valuable trees. Maybe you will finally work with Amey to relax over-stringent kerb specifications? Maybe Councillor Lodge will finally make that overdue call to the suppliers of Flexi™-pave? They’re waiting to hear from you, Bryan.

In the UK we resolve our differences in civilised ways through debate, the use of solid facts and by calling upon expert witnesses to inform and advise the best possible decisions. Wise leaders call upon wise counsel. Sadly, no credible experts support the large scale removal of healthy street trees in Sheffield.

An internationally renowned tree expert says:

“…the recent myth busting post from Sheffield City Council verged on laughable from a technical perspective, which makes it nothing more than political propaganda. It [SCC] knows it is weak on this front, which is blindingly obvious because no expert of any calibre is prepared to stand up and defend its approach.”

The Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) are full of ordinary Sheffield people. Some might be your family doctor, teach your children, drive your taxi on a Friday night, or wait in your local café. One thing that unites tree campaigners across the city is that they care about the value of our street tree assets. Experts have been sought out and back up what they say because the campaigners understand the importance of acting on real evidence and expert advice. Yes, that may seem unfashionable, but it’s true.

The campaigners have sought dialogue with the Council to try to resolve the savage street tree removal programme. For weeks a reply has been awaited. The time has come to stop the Council spin. People see it for what it is. Instead of wasting Council Tax trying to fight the public, Sheffield City Council need to work with them to protect our environmental legacy and to secure a healthier future. Plant more trees for sure, but value the healthy street trees. They will serve us well for many decades to come.

Councillor Lodge, we challenge you to a public, independently chaired debate. Bring your ‘experts’. The Sheffield Tree Action Groups, with membership city-wide, will bring theirs. In front of the public and the media you can show this proud city that you are prepared to engage.

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‘Amey’ Worker Chases Tree For 13 Miles

Magid Magid, Green Councillor for Broomhill and Sharrowvale, ran yesterdays Sheffield Half Marathon dressed as one of Sheffield’s threatened trees; being chased by a chainsaw wielding ‘Amey’ employee all the way.

I’m happy to report that the tree finished safely in 2 hours 11 minutes.

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