‘For Trees’ Feedback

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Dear Tree Supporter,

Below is a summary of the meeting held at Wallasey Town Hall on 2nd July. You can view the meeting for yourself on:

WirralCouncilWebcasting; Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2.7.19. Last item on agenda presented to Cllr Chris Blakeley (chair) by Cllr Christina Muspratt :

Thank you to all the tree supporters who attended.

On 2 July 2019 Council Officer David Armstrong reported that the Council are “currently engaged in a programme of extensive backlog maintenance to do with trees” He stated: “I assure you we are just carrying out maintenance and we have got a lot of work to do”…”people are polarised, people who want it done and many who are absolutely opposed”…”this is having implications for people trying to carry out the works”…”I can understand why people are upset “. He then continued to emphasize the wish to move onto the tree removal from school grounds; Considering the ‘student strikes for climate’ this is a grotesque proposal; schools need to invest in cleaner air for which trees and dense vegetation around schools are essential. He referred to the policing which is needed increasingly as the public stand up against the felling; Yet the Aarhus Convention legally obliges us as members of the public to protect our natural environment.

The council has a responsibility to educate these “people who want it carried out” to understand the implications of habitat removal and destruction, now that we face the Climate Emergency. Of course the profiteers from the timber will be amongst this group; Beyond Mancoed; who are these profiteers?…What do they have to gain?….they have everything to lose, as do we all…

Now so many of us have paved gardens as car parks, we are all reliant on public trees being our oxygen banks.

The good news is; the ‘For Trees’ team have been working on a tree strategy/policy for Wirral and as an outcome of the above meeting there has been a ‘Tree Strategy Councillor Group’ set up to meet twice a year. Will this be sufficient and in time to save the trees ear-marked in the Council’s “workload backlog” ??!

Please relay to your three local Councillors that we need them to help save Wirral’s trees. And feel free to share your correspondence, anonymously or otherwise

Many thanks,

The ‘For Trees’ team

I attach a table of risk for your information to consider the disproportionate actions that Wirral Council are taking while destroying our natural environment;

Fatalities in ‘Daily or Normal Life’

The following table compares the calculated risks that are experienced in ‘daily or normal life’.

Annual risk of death Annual risk Annual risk per million
All causes, aged 45-64
(England and Wales, 2003) (1)
1 in 190 5263
All causes, aged 30-44
(England and Wales, 2003) (1)
1 in 940 1064
Accidents in the home, all ages
(England and Wales, 2004) (3)
1 in 17,000 59
Road accidents
(Great Britain, 2010) (2)
1 in 32,000 31
Injuries to all employees in different industries
(Great Britain, average 2001/02-2005/06) (4)
 

1 in 140,000

 

7

Insignificant or Trivial Risk (HSE) 1 in 1,000,000 1
Lightning (5) 1 in 19,000,000 0.05
Trees on public land (incl. tree surgeons and fellers; statistically the majority group) 1 in 20,000,000 0.05
  • Office for National Statistics Focus on Health
  • Department for Transport Road Casualties Great Britain: 2010
  • Office for National Statistics Mortality Statistics – Injury and poisoning
  • Health and Safety Commission Statistics of Fatal Injuries 2005/06
  • Deaths and injuries caused by lightning in the United Kingdom: analyses of two databases, D M Elsom, Tornado and Storm Research Organisation, 2000

Additional Reference: National Tree Safety Group-Common sense risk management

For Trees Pleas…

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 11

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.

Grange Hill 24

On Friday, January 18th, Mancoed, Council commercial contractors, felled over 20 mature trees along the lower perimeter of Grange Hill. These trees were away from any footpaths and they were felled with no notice or discussions with the local Grange Hill Biodiversity Group.
The ‘Friends of’ group still meet most Sundays, on Grange Hill, to continue their programme of slash and burn.
This is tantamount to WILDLIFE CLEANSING and should be stopped!
Grange Hill 4

‘FOR TREES’

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.

  1. 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.
  2. We request a commitment to improved sharing of information, and a genuine dialogue with the public with respect to trees.
  3. We request that trees identified with symbiotic fungi present, are left intact.
  4. We request that trees with hollow spaces are protected; hollow trees are strong, (as are wind turbines and bones) and vital to enriching biodiversity.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  1. 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.