As they’re backing up like, well ,let’s not go there, here’s our third local campaign post of the evening from ‘For Trees’.
The campaign group met with Wirral Council’s Deputy Chief Executive David Armstrong last month (January 18 to be precise) and asked him to sign up to the requests outlined below ,which we think would have been an excellent step forward in addressing public accountability and the balance of power. We don’t need to tell you that Armstrong didn’t sign up to the requests. As far as we’re concerned Mr Armstrong is definitely not a fan of public accountability and clearly likes to be the one with the power.
On the same day as this meeting we received information and pictures from another concerned source about what was happening at Grange Hill , West Kirby :
Grange Hill, West Kirby, Wirral; a site registered with Wirral Council as an SBI (Site of Biological Importance) has, over recent years been in the hands of a ‘friends of…’ group (FoGH) who have, with the support of Council Ranger service, slashed and burned huge amounts of wildlife habitat, and felled many of the mature trees around the site of the war memorial, and well beyond this area; rendering parts of the hill unrecognisable as to what it once was. Destroying habitats of many protected species, not least; bats woodpeckers, owls and lizards.The footpaths, which were previously managed by the Council footpaths officer alone, have now been glyphosated (prior to Remembrance Day Nov 2018) which has led to such extreme soil erosion that some of the steeper paths are now expanses of bare rock.
FAO: David Armstrong (Corporate Director for Delivery Services/Assistant Chief Executive, Wirral Council.)
Meeting called by Margaret Greenwood, MP; 18/1/2019 at; Hoylake Community Centre.
In attendance: Margaret Greenwood MP, David Armstrong, Louise Stothard, Sec. For Trees, Diane Johnson, ecologist,
The ‘For Trees’ group now has over 450 supporters on the Wirral peninsula
We are looking to invite celebrated authors to speak publicly at meetings, sharing their knowledge, and wisdom, concerning the contribution trees have made to the world we inhabit.
The Wirral peninsula now has very few trees over 200 years of age, and it is imperative that trees on the Wirral are permitted to live as long as possible…with trunks and branches being supported by ‘stays’ or ‘spars’ wherever deemed necessary.
The number one aim of the ‘For Trees’ group is to bring a halt to the Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council scheme of felling mature trees and destroying vegetation, in public parks and across the Borough.
The Council has persisted also in comprehensive applications of Glyphosate across the Borough, a known carcinogen banned in many countries.
We ask that this meeting calls to secure a halt to the tree-felling scheme currently taking place in Ashton Park, West Kirby, and the condemning/felling and dismantling trees, removing shrubs, scrub and gorse cover across the Borough. This policy degrades the environment and health and safety of residents.
It is never acceptable to fell a tree, or to pay contractors or in-house staff to present any tree as ‘a risk’ on the basis that there’s a 1 in 20 million (HSE) possibility that part of it might in falling, kill someone or to present it as a risk if it is decaying, has, or is likely to be colonised by fungi or be liable to wood decay. Trees should be left in situ.
Branches will fall occasionally in extreme winds. Tree surgeons routinely remove branches which may show some minor decay ‘back to stem’, which inevitably interrupts the wind flow, through the tree, and can render other branches and trees more vulnerable. This also applies to ‘lolli-popping’ and extreme pollarding of trees.
The Council have a legal commitment to ENHANCE bio-diversity thereby to have minimum ‘hands-on’ interference.
The Council should be saving money spent on the use of tree surgeons using chainsaws, which is an extremely dangerous procedure. Such practices amount to a gross misuse of public money, an abrogation of statutory duty and a failure of office by Wirral Council. The £16,500 spent on a recent survey would have been better spent on providing supporting ‘stays’ or ‘spars’ for long, overhanging branches, in order to protect the branches.
The litigation-minded approach to trees on public land has to change: The protection of trees and members of the public can go hand in hand, without resorting to the use of chain saws.
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, according to the Aarhus Convention, is legally obliged to EDUCATE the public on these issues: not relying on voluntary groups, such as ‘For Trees’, to share accurate and reliable information on environmental issues with members of the public.
- We request a halt to the felling, and proposed felling programme of, 40 trees and 65 to have branches removed, in Ashton Park, West Kirby, Wirral.
- We request a commitment to improved sharing of information, and a genuine dialogue with the public with respect to trees.
- We request that trees identified with symbiotic fungi present, are left intact.
- We request that trees with hollow spaces are protected; hollow trees are strong, (as are wind turbines and bones) and vital to enriching biodiversity.
- We request that the Council honors it’s legal commitment to environmental education by working with every school in the borough to involve them in tree preservation programmes, and planting of indigenous trees and hedgerows, whilst acknowledging that tree planting does not compensate for removal of our valuable mature trees.
- We request an end to threats of prosecution of local citizens exercising their rights to peaceful protest while doing their utmost to protect trees from unnecessary felling.
7.We request an end to the use of glyphosate by Wirral Borough Council; saving up to £150,000 a year.
- We request a moratorium putting an end the felling of Wirral’s trees and an end to the extreme lopping, pollarding and cutting of trees and their branches be allowed to grow naturally.
Signed this day; 18th January 2019
David Armstrong, Corporate Dir. For Delivery Services/Asst. Chief Executive.