A View To A Kill

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Wirral View’s inevitable destination

We said we’d get back and report on the inevitable demise of the most misbegotten, woebegotten and soon forgotten contribution to ‘journalism’ known as Wirral View.

And –  Oh! What at a wretched rag it was.

Apparently according to the Wirral Globe , who ironically got the ‘exclusive’ on this story, Wirral Council is pulling the life support machine on this ‘information deficit’ atrocity funded by public money in October.

Needless to say we called this pisspoor propaganda paper from the get go in our Warped View post from 2016.

Despite the fact that the former and not missed at all CEO of Wirral Council Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson lied about the fact that Wirral View was not seeking advertisement revenue to achieve the infamous Martin Liptrot’s aim of putting Wirral Globe out of business,  Wirral View was allowed to stagger on until the editor of Wirral Globe got his hands on the ‘Wirralgate’ tapes in July 2017 and Wirral View’s days were inevitably numbered.

Consequently we were drawn to this comment in the Wirral Globe report:

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You don’t say?

Triple vodka and oranges all round eh, Leigh?

 

Wirral View’s Life Cycle Comes To An End

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As part of our parting shots we promise to get round to commenting on the demise (?) of the Hoylake Golf Resort and that journalistic milestone/tombstone formerly known as Wirral View.

However we leave it to our betters to get the first shots in and call upon ‘The Prof’ to comment on Wirral View’s reckless promotion of ‘healthy living’ on Wirral. As far as we’re concerned the only healthy living option would involve using any form of transportation to get off the hell off the insular peninsula as fast as you can…

Wirral View is continuing its irresponsible campaign to have us all embrace cycling…including riding to schools.

Top tips for the ride ahead

Exercise is good for us…but only in clean air. If you can get into the countryside, say to the Wirral Way or Leasowe embankment, go to it! But cycling east of the M53 is dangerous. Wirral View tells us ‘Wirral Council monitors air pollution as part of its commitment to clean air.’ This is so for nitrogen oxides, but highly dangerous particulate matter is measured at only one AURN site…in the middle of Victoria Park, far from major roads. On this basis it tell us it has not identified ‘any illegal air pollution levels.’ This is strictly true for annual average, current national exposure limits but not for WHO (World Health Organisation)  limits on particulate matter. The WHO say this of their own stricter, current limits

‘Annual PM concentrations are associated with all-cause mortality to a high degree of confidence. There is no evidence of a safe level of exposure to PMs or to a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur.’

In other words: our Wirral average air pollution is (just) legal but you will put your health and that of your children at significant risk if you take exercise near any major, and many minor, roads on Wirral. Even the UK government has an aim to ensure that under 50% of the population will experience more than the WHO limit on PMs by 2025. Much of Wirral is above that limit. It’s your choice…

Professor D P Gregg (retired)

Cold Calling For Wirral Council

 

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We’ve had a few people contact us asking about cold calling from Wirral Council or more accurately  an organisation called NEMS asking  Wirral residents to take part in a planning /shopping survey for Wirral Council.

An inquisitive recipient of such a call asked who had commissioned the survey and was told it was a certain John Entwistle from the Planning Department. Could the Planning Department finally be cottoning on that it would be useful to find out what Wirralians want to see happens to where they live and to pop that info into some kind of ‘Local Plan’?

Alas we can’t tell you what information that NEMS are gathering at the moment because none of the people who received the unsolicited call  fitted a particular demographic…

So just giving you all the heads up that if the number 01642 680947 pops up on your phone you know it’s NEMS and you can choose whether to participate or not – as long as you fit a set criteria that is…

Planning An Intervention ?

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There was a timely reminder this week about just how incompetent Wirral Council’s Planning Department is with the publication of the full Court of Appeal judgment from April in the case Regina (Thornton Hall Hotel Ltd) v Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

The full citation can be read here

Someone who had read The Times law report contacted us and posed these questions :

Good Afternoon

So yet again, the marquee saga at Thornton Manor has managed not to reach the local press, I wonder why?

The planning permission quashed by the high court, Appeal dismissed with more criticism of WBC and Thornton Manor. It even made The Times on Wednesday!

Are weddings at risk now the Marquees are continuing to operate without planning consent?

Is WBC going to do anything about it?

Is planning permission worth the paper it’s written on (or not written on) should you bother with it if you can just carry on regardless?

All very pertinent we’re sure you’d agree. However could help be on the horizon for our exasperated source as it would appear that they’re not the only one getting increasingly frustrated with Wirral Council’s ineptitude when it comes to planning  issues.

There is another report from earlier this month which once again seems to have bypassed the local mainstream media but potentially has serious implications for local planning.

Indeed a recent contact commented to us :

Any update on the Green Belt? I’ve heard that MHCLG are about to trigger an intervention on Wirral soon due to constant delays and lack of capability.

Could this have been prompted by the following damning report which can be found on the Planning Resource website  ?

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As you can read below the worst of all was, yes you guessed it- Wirral Council! It is interesting to note that under the government’s special measures programme, Wirral Council could have planning decisions taken out of its hands by the Planning Inspectorate if they fall below specified thresholds for the speed and quality of their decision making. And as we can see from the Thornton Manor marquee saga case study above speed and quality is not exactly a strong point ! Never mind at least Wirral Council are top notch when it comes to getting artist’s impressions of planning developments in the local press. It’s just such a shame they never make it through the planning process!…

 

The councils that determined the fewest applications within government time limits up to March 2019

2 July 2019 by John Geoghegan

Eight local authorities are now below the government’s ‘special measures’ threshold for the proportion of application decisions made within the statutory timescales, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Wirral Town Hall: council determined the fewest major applications within government time limits up to March 2019

Under the special measures programme, councils can have planning decisions taken out of their hands and dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate if they fall below specified thresholds for the speed and quality of their decision making.

Authorities that decide fewer than 60 per cent of major applications within the statutory deadline of 13 weeks or 70 per cent of non-major applications within the eight-week deadline face the sanction.

In December 2018, the government announced the programme would continue until 2020.

However, no council has been penalised under the initiative since January 2015, despite many falling under the sanction thresholds.

Last week, the government updated its figures showing how many major and non-major decisions that each English local planning authority determined within the prescribed timescales in the two years up to March 2019.

It shows that a total of eight councils fall below the thresholds for major and non-major decisions: Wirral, Craven, Barrow-in-Furness, Ealing, Wakefield, Stoke-on-Trent, Southampton and Worcester.

In the previous quarter’s data, the two years up to December 2018, a total of ten councils fell below the three thresholds for speed of determination.

The latest data for major decisions shows that Wirral, Craven and Barrow-in-Furness councils are below the 60 per cent threshold (see below).

Wirral Council is still the worst-performing authority in this category, deciding just over than half of its 75 major applications within the 13-week deadline. Wirral and Craven remain below the threshold from the last quarter’s data.

For ‘county matters’ major application decisions, which covers mineral and waste development, Ealing and Wakefield Councils remain below the threshold (see below).

However, both authorities only dealt with one ‘county matters’ major application each over the two-year period.

They are joined below the threshold by Stoke-on-Trent, which only determined two applications.

For non-major decisions (see below), the data shows that Craven, Southampton, and Worcestershire are all below the 70 per cent threshold – the same three councils as the last quarter but with Craven now replacing Southampton as the worst-performing authority.

Out of a total of 1,070 decisions, Craven Council made 65 per cent of them within the eight week deadline.

Last December, the MHCLG announced that designation decisions in the first quarter of 2019 for speed of decision-making would consider the two-year timeframe between October 2016 and September 2018.

Meanwhile, for quality of decision-making, the assessment period would be between April 2016 and March 2019

 

CCG and Mrs Jones

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Our health correspondent Dr Love provides us with a commentary on recent events concerned with the proposed closure of two local walk in centres and the role of the  Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Cllr Christine Jones. It really makes you wonder whether they’ve ‘got a thing going on’…

Dear chum

Councillor Christine Jones is the joint chair of Wirral’s Joint Strategic Commissioning Board.

She acquiesced when their recent meeting was turned into – for the most important item on the agenda – a meeting of the CCG Board. ‘Legal’ because Council and NHS budgets aren’t ‘pooled’ for the related purpose, but a smack in the gob for councillors. (And see the John Brace reference below.)

The CCG agreed unanimously to close two walk-in centres.

Cllr Jones forgets to say that ANY closures had been opposed unanimously the previous week by a joint meeting of Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester Councils attended by Labour and Tory councillors.

She repeats the argument that people were ‘confused’ about existing services. NO reasonable evidence has ever been presented for this.

She accepts that there will be improvements in NHS111 (now rechristened variously ‘Ask Alexa’ and ‘Fuck off and die’).

She accepts that axed services will allegedly be covered by extra GP appointments, ignores the 100,000 missing NHS doctors and nurses, and accepts the CCG’s clear statement that this appointment system won’t necessarily be with a GP but with various assistants (less skilled, lower paid).

She fails to follow her own Council’s and her Party’s policies to oppose any closures.

She forgets that her party’s policy (nationally and locally) is to oppose the whole ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ edifice, of which the CCG and its cut and pasted plans are part.

Her colleague who follows her is also worth listening to – for different reasons.

Here’s the video of the meeting with Cllr Jones’ comments from 31 minutes in. https://wirral.public-i.tv/…/webcast_interactive/429803

But the most jaw-dropping feature of this sorry episode is that last month she wrote to a local campaigner and said, “The community consultation the CCG delivered on the urgent care review proposals showed unequivocally strong opposition to any closure of walk in centres. I stand by the wishes of Wirral residents and council and will oppose any closure of services”.

Campaigners expect councillors (especially from the ‘people’s party’) to have a grasp of the ideology behind the rapid dismantling and demoralisation of the NHS. Our little local difficulty is simply a tiny part of the ambitions of those who would beg a trade deal from Trump and leave any bits which they haven’t already plundered to the slavering jaws of United Health of Minneapolis (the previous employer of NHSE boss Simon Stevens and with huge existing NHS contracts including via its Optum system).

BTW the other joint chair (and chair of CCG) Dr Paula Cowan is a key part of the whole unedifying process. She has form in forcing through cuts https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/fertility-treatment-cut-back-part-12583527

So is it the ‘aristocratic embrace’ that subverts Cllr Jones? Or is it just lovely to sit next to the NHS’s own Emily Maitlis?

She’s going to feel rather conflicted when her council colleagues refer the decision back to the Secretary of State for Health especially now that the whole process has been exposed by local video man John Brace https://johnbrace.com/is-the-decision-to-close-2-walk-in-centres-at-moreton-and-new-ferry-last-week-unlawful/?fbclid=IwAR3fGmjIDxS7NSjvNft2xoyqmX38vmOUERnSCo9tQP4U9P-5qIepFTQXrqw

The meeting video also shows Cllr Tony Norbury saying what a blow this is to the people of Birkenhead. Perhaps he’s failed to notice that elements within Birkenhead Labour – as well as Frank N Field and the local GP who runs an excellent ‘saved’ walk-in centre – are jubilant because ‘their’ Globe-splashed campaign had such a victory.

Yours, Dr Love

 

KKK KO 4 BJ

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Tory hasbeens in happier times. Enter our caption competition and win something in pink silk

No doubt you’ve all been reading about Tory Councillor David Burgess Joyce who has been all over the mainstream media  for all the wrong reasons. His insulting and imbecilic tweets comparing black Labour MP David Lammy to a member of white supremacist murderers the Ku Klux Klan was low even for a Wirral councillor but let’s face it, not a new low . As we know their standards are lower than a rattlesnake’s belly and ignorant racists are two a penny at Wallasey Town Hall (yes, we’re talking about you Cllr George Davies…)

Needless to say we had BJ – as we like to call him- nailed as a Grade A arsehole in our A Fair Cop post in 2016 :

Her Ladyship and I have always asked each other who on earth was that preening, self -regarding pompous windbag  who with faux sincerity talked ever -so – slowly – and – in – a -way – that – made – you – think – that -what -he-was -saying – was – ever – so- important – and – profound – when -really – it -was – the – usual – mix -of -blather – and – BS.

And now we know – Mr B-J !!!

 

BJ has now been suspended by the local Tory Party – fortunately for him not in a manner approved by the Klu Klux Klan. Might we suggest that he should now spend his time arranging his collection of lurid silk pocket handkerchiefs and reflecting on the fact that he is one of many Wirral councillors who should never, EVER have been in a position to make decisions about other peoples lives…

Meanwhile here’s a history lesson in song for BJ  :

 

DON’T WALK ON BY – Defend Our NHS: Wirral walk-in centre scandal

Here’s the latest from our friends at Defend Our NHS. Misleading local press reports?   You don’t say!

 

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Dear friends of the NHS

We have some very bad news.

Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group board members (CCG) have decided to CLOSE two local walk-in centres.

They have ignored the protests of:

  • 45,000 petitioners;
  • Over 60% of the two thousand detailed responses to their ‘consultation’; AND
  • The unanimous decision of Wirral & Cheshire West and Chester Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (made up of councillors from Labour and Conservative parties, representing Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester councils)

What was billed as a meeting of the Joint Strategic Commissioning Board on 9th July was turned into a meeting of the CCG Board and they approved their own plan unanimously*.

Sadly they were supported by some GPs (including one who at least declared an interest as his practice would benefit from the change). And shockingly by a councillor who had previously written to DONHS to say, “The community consultation the CCG delivered on the urgent care review proposals showed unequivocally strong opposition to any closure of walk in centres. I stand by the wishes of Wirral residents and council and will oppose any closure of services”.

What now? We must renew our efforts to educate and inform (and if necessary expose) Wirral councillors. Of ALL parties. All opposed the plans, all say they love the NHS, and we doubt that very few of them are aware of the source of the deeply ideological changes to our NHS (in Minneapolis!) of which this is just part.

What can you do?

  1. Please write to Wirral and Cheshire West councillors asking them to support a ‘reference back’ of the decision to the Secretary of State for Health.
  2. Attend our next public meeting. It’s on TUESDAY 30th July at 7.00pm at a venue to be confirmed. Tell your friends and neighbours about this.
  3. Consider becoming more involved in NHS campaigning. Our AGM is in September and we would welcome new enthusiasts onto the DONHS executive committee. Details will follow soon.

See our Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

* The story this week in the Wirral Globe and Liverpool Echo about the protest is misleading in several serious ways. 45,000 people (not 30,000 as they report) and the overwhelming majority of those who sent detailed responses to the CCG consultation protested against ANY closures. And it is important to note that, while DONHS has serious concerns about the behaviour of some councillors, the vote to close the centres had nothing to do with councillors; it was a decision of Wirral CCG and was opposed UNANIMOUSLY by Wirral and Cheshire West Councils…

New Ferry in Bloom

Over the years Wirral Leaks readers have sent us some marvellous pictures with all the pathos and precision of a Martin Parr  photographic exhibition.

Our latest valued contributor provides us with the following  photos of New Ferry accompanied by this message :

I took these yesterday in New Ferry. These are only a few examples, there are more “planters” placed there by God knows who. I had previously spoken to one of the remaining business owners, and whilst she said they looked nice, she did not believe any of the garbage spouted by elected officials (local or national) that New Ferry would rise from the ashes. I agree with her…

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Whilst we applaud anyone who tries to prettify a bombsite we can only agree that judging by these pictures it will be a long time before New Ferry goes from boom to boom town!…

TREE PROTECTION – URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPPORT TONIGHT (JULY 2ND) AT COUNCIL MEETING,WALLASEY TOWN HALL 6PM

Campaign group ‘For Trees’ have today sent out this urgent appeal :

There is an intention to discuss Wirral’s Trees tonight and ‘call in’ the felling while the new Wirral Tree Policy and strategy is established. This policy will afford Tree Protection and allow a healthier environment for Wirral.

Please show your support at the Council meeting on the environment TONIGHT  (Tuesday 2nd July) from 6pm at Wallasey Town Hall.
Your voices count!!
Many many thanks for your ongoing support

 

Meanwhile here is recent correspondence we have received outlining  For Trees attempts to stop the felling of 33 mature,healthy trees in West Kirby. Could this be part of Wirral’ Council’s gross over-reaction to tree maintenance prompted by a particularly tragic case involving a fallen tree?

Dear Mr Justice,

I am sending a copy below of the e-mail sent to interested Councillors and those on the Environment Committee following a ‘meeting’ in Grange Park with Anthony Bestwick and Colin Quinney where Councillors called to STOP the plans to cut and fell the row of lombardy poplars in Grange Park, West Kirby. The Council officers have said that they are refusing any call for a moratorium and will proceed with felling!!! This is outrageous!

Please help to stop the Grange fellings and KEEP WIRRAL’S TREES.

Many thanks,

Diane Johnson, For Trees Wirral.

Emergency on Planet Earth

Wirral’s trees are being felled at an unprecedented rate.  Some local authorities are now actively protecting trees in their constituencies. Wirral Council officers have repeatedly taken decisions based upon totally disproportionate and unfounded fears that our most precious living asset be disposed of, at cost to the taxpayer and to the Council.

Claim culture must be addressed, in part via public education; this is the legal responsibility of the council. Councils concerned about the possibility of negligence claims need to issue disclaimers in public areas which warn the public that they should, for example, avoid walking in the vicinity of quaysides, close to ancient trees on cliff tops, etc in the event of severe gales.  They cannot, and should not, be held responsible for accidents that occur as a result of the interactions between our environment and ourselves.
Litigation actions, pursued as a result of illnesses caused by airborne pollutants, are becoming more frequent; These increases in breathing related deaths are a vital implication of ‘duty of care’ and ‘health and safety issue’ for the council, as trees intercept pollutants which cause seizures, asthma attacks and inhibited lung growth.

‘For Trees’ has audited the loss of and damage to several thousand trees in our Borough. Felling operations are market-driven by the risk economy, by the biomass market  (which uses 79% wood fuel instead of waste products), timber harvesting, and by the compulsory roll-out of 5G and its infrastructure. An FOI request revealed a Wirral spend of 220k per annum on tree ‘works’ but this was subsequently found to be 1.5m (Anthony Bestwick quoted 1.2 m 19.6.19); It can cost up £5,000 to fell a mature tree (how much to protect a tree?)

 

In response to the ‘Amenity Tree Care Ltd’ survey of Grange Park, West Kirby: 

 

The removal of any trees at Grange Park/Cemetery will be detrimental to the local ecology, and the human population. Despite their amenity value, the trees filter the pollutants reaching West Kirby, and provide oxygen, thus reducing the risk of pulmonary diseases and deaths through breathing related illness; of which there were 55,000 recorded in 2017. This FAR outweighs ANY risk or ‘danger’ from keeping trees. Their removal is a certain risk to human health.

No tree surveyor is capable of foretelling which trees may fall in severe storms. Trees which are identified as dead will rot, providing a vital micro-system of food source for foraging birds and bats, fungi and other micro-organisms which only thrive on dead or decaying timber can inhabit as a vital part of our ecology.

A tree will eventually become soft and crumbly, rather like a balsa-wood. This offers NO significant danger.

The entire area is foraging grounds for a number of bat species and any tree hollows at this location, are plausibly bat roosts

THE AMENITY COMMERCIAL SURVEY: response

  1.  The whitebeam; This small tree has been previously coppiced and has since grown multi-stems from it’s base of which some dead limbs of around 10cm diameter. More importantly, this tree is surrounded by a 4m diameter thicket of bramble. This is a unique habitat within this park providing shelter and habitat for sparrows, and foraging birds and small mammals such as hedgehogs.
  2. This hawthorn has been recommended (April 2019) for the Woodland Trusts’ Ancient tree directory. There is a living limb attached to a very old and ecologically valuable stump (around 1 metre height) of considerable age. Hawthorns can exist through re-generation for many centuries, although sadly they are very rare at this age.
  3.  Ash: This tree should be left in situ as it is in dense wooded area; adding valuable habitat.
  4.  Sycamore: In dense wooded area; adding valuable habitat. This tree should be left in situ.
  5.  Laburnum; This tree has been dead for many years. It lies at a 45 degree angle from the ground with vertical stem from this and has still never fallen after all this time. As it has been left as a dead-wood it illustrates perfectly that, being allowed to rot in situ adds valuable perching and foraging habitat.
  6.  Only last year this magnificent cherry tree stood as a perfect specimen of a full canopy tree. Cherry-wood is one of the most valuable and sought after British hardwoods commercially and this specimen willl command a high price in timber value. It has died very suddenly and would stand, if left in situ, for many decades adding important habitat to the ecology of the area
  7. This cherry has previously had all of it’s branch canopy ends cut; By whom? and Why?

consequently this has introduced some disease to the tree. Yet it is now in good leaf.

G1: This “group of two trees” (according to survey) with an estimated height of 3 m is, in fact, a small and ecologically valuable ‘coppice’ which includes two young healthy ash, two young healthy oaks and a small sycamore. A limb of the sycamore which has died back can easily remain in situ as it stands no more than 3m and is in advanced stages of decay. The survey refers to a hawthorn to be ‘felled to the ground’ but this is already a short stump

G2: Despite a covering letter to the survey from Anthony Bestwick suggesting that 6 poplars are condemned to fell, where he states;

“The biggest group of trees is the row of Lombardy Poplars along the edge of the roadway in the cemetery that due to significant issues, means that 6 of the 33 trees require felling the remaining Lombardy Poplars require pollarding.”

The survey, in fact, states that all 33 poplars are recommended to fell; The survey says;

“G2 is a row of thirty-three Lombardy poplar growing adjacent to the main access road into the cemetery. The trees have a history of being poorly pruned and have been significantly reduced in height to approximately 4m above ground level. The survey identified twenty-three trees that have major structural defects that consists of significant stem and basal decay. Large diameter deadwood is visible in several trees.

Following the significant reduction in height there appears to have been no further work carried out to the trees.”

It continues;

“Due to the poor structural condition of the trees and poor pruning and the further likely deterioration in the structural condition of the trees. I recommend that the trees are felled to ground level.”

Mr Bestwick’s letter thus is misleading. The Council is required by the Aarhus Convention, to which the UK is a party, to operate in an open, fair and transparent manner, so the public can see what is involved, yet they have deliberately obscured information.

 

ALL these 33 trees are, in fact, robust and thriving. ALL show healthy new growth throughout the individual trees from ground level to the full height of these trees which now have recovered from their ‘poor pruning’ and have grown to over 13 metres high.

The statement could correctly read ; ‘following the significant reduction in height’…the trees have successfully healed and grown to their current height of over 13 metres tall. It is not appropriate to pollard this beautiful line of trees.

No tree needs to be ‘felled to ground level’ as is recommended in the survey; This row of trees are one of the few remaining stands of such trees in Wirral; they need to be seen to realise just how spectacular they are. Standing majestically, they can be viewed from parts of Liverpool as well as Wallasey and New Brighton. They, as are all the trees on this survey, within the feeding grounds of the bat population of Grange and, in fact, provide probable bat roosting. Because of the protection status given to bats, the trees should be afforded protection on this basis alone.

The time for full and thorough independent environmental impact assessments and bat surveys (even if they had been done, as should have been good practice) has passed; the trees need to stay.

There is at least one nesting box visible fixed into the poplar beside the scout hut and a nest is also visible (the scouts intend to write letters or e-mails of appeal to stop felling or cutting these trees as they were unaware of the felling programme prior to 18.6.19).

The following statements; ..

” trees that have major structural defects that consists of significant stem and basal decay. Large diameter deadwood is visible in several trees.”

indicates the lack of understanding as to the nature of tree-growth and ageing by the surveyor; The living part of an ageing tree is the outer girth; Most ancient trees are, in general, entirely hollow, as their inner wood naturally decomposes with girth expansion (the famous red-wood of USA which was, for many years, recorded as the tallest known tree had a road running through it). Hollow trees are STRONG (as are hollow wind turbines and hollow bones etc) and will stand for centuries as hollow. As these hollows develop, ideal habitat is provided for eg nesting owls and woodpeckers, and roosting bats.

The reason given for pollarding the trees is; because it has been done previously. Of course, even pollarding them will render them susceptible to disease, spoil their appearance, reduce their capacity to filter pollution and produce oxygen etc.

The felling company will obviously stand to profit from harvesting the timber from these our public trees.

G3.: The ‘group of standing young dead elms’; The only reason to remove these would be to remove the diseased wood; Mancoed’s practice however is to chip and leave diseased elm-wood on site; this was how the elms of Grange Hill were ‘managed’ last year where an astonishing number of living healthy trees of other species were also felled alongside these valuable deadwoods with the tree-fellers excuse; “we needed to get the chipper through”….’collateral damage!’. This, again, is unacceptable

 

FLOODING

 

All the living trees in the survey contribute to flood-alleviation. As the Council has, over recent years, dug up Grange park to install drainage systems, I am interested to know how much was spent on this? Upon the site visit, it can be clearly illustrated that areas of the park are still flooding and thus are in need of PLANTING FURTHER TREES particularly in the areas which are currently flooded.

Flood defences have already been installed by way of ‘gambions’ beside the scout hut where the line of trees stops.

 

TREE SURVEYS

There were no such things as tree surveys in the past and trees did just fine, and the possibility of being ‘harmed’ by a tree was never an issue.

There is no legal requirement to survey and fell trees in this manner.

 

Surveying trees, with a view to harvesting their timbers, opens the door to the question of whether a tree has the right to exist.

What is the purpose of any health and condition survey if it recommends that a tree or any other living creature should be killed? The only surveys that could feasibly be entertained would be those that analyse the human-borne threat to trees at any stage of their lives with a view to protection, via tree guards, tree pits, mulching, wardening. etc. Surveying needs to establish the cavat value of our valuable trees using the Eco itree tool, which Wirral Council are advised to adopt immediately. (linking in with Wrexham Council and learning from their methods of good tree-care practice will be a sensible next step.

The ONLY trees that should be considered to prune or remove are those which grow across roads or footpaths and would physically interfere directly with traffic flow eg the bus ‘tunnel’ of vegetation, or walking on an official pathway (1.5 m).

Trees are unique as living organisms in that, unlike others, they continue to function at very high levels at EVERY stage of life and in WHATEVER CONDITION. They are unique in the enormous contributions they make every second of their lives to human and animal health and to the health of our elements. They curate life both in their immediate environment and far beyond.HSE statistics illustrate a 1: 120,000,000 risk compared to 6 road deaths a day (1,793 road deaths per annum) yet there is still no meaningful policy to curb car use). This entirely dis-proportionate felling response ignores the huge benefits we gain from trees.

Wirral Council needs to terminate its surveying and felling contracts forthwith.

There is one threat to the health of trees – which is human. Humans import tree diseases. Humans attack trees.

And yet our very lives depend on them

Update; Following the ‘meeting in the park’ with Colin Quinney and Anthony Bestwick (19.6.19) they expressed that; no amount of calls for moratoria will be heeded, from Councillors, as there is ‘a duty of care’ and a ‘health and safety’ issue involved and; despite the climate emergency, the fellings would go ahead.  Colin Quinney noted that if some of the poplar trees in their condition had been ‘special trees’ he would have agreed to save them as it is it would be too expensive. He also said he wouldn’t proceed with felling ALL those which the survey had suggested but would save some poplars. There was no mention of, or regard shown for the DEFRA bio-diversity duty legal commitments or the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) or European Habitats Directive; laws which are in place to protect our natural environment.

Diane Johnson, BSc Hons Ecology, PGCE, For Trees Wirral

Dear Councillor,

In view of the pending loss of the majestic row of poplars (all 33 poplar trees) at Grange Park, and almost all of the other mature trees within the Park area, as a result of the survey carried out by Amenity Tree ‘Care’. we have searched for an independent, non-commercial, qualified tree surveyor who is willing to give us another opinion, before any work goes ahead.

Thankfully we have found an Arboricultural Consultant who is agreeable to this.
First, we need a delay on the proposed felling ‘works’ by Mancoed while we arrange this further.
In view of correct practice requiring that notice is given prior to the closure of the park in advance to any works proceeding, we hope that we have a window ‘stay of execution’ although Anthony Bestwick has reported that he wants to proceed with felling “as soon as possible”.
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
Trees on public land 1 in 20,000,000 0.05
Lightning (5) 1 in 19,000,000 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 of trees

Yours Sincerely

Diane Johnson, For Trees.

5G : ‘The public have a right to know’

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This week has seen Britain’s first court case against 5G – and the people won!

The Humans Are Free website reports :

Mark Steele, a 5G campaigner, has been highlighting the dangers of a secret 5G rollout by Gateshead Council where residents are complaining of increased illness and cancer in the affected area…

Gateshead Council were found to have misused police powers to gag Mark Steele and yesterday he left a free man and Gateshead Council to fork out £11k of taxpayers money to cover the court cost amounting to woeful ignorance.

In Court, none of the Council Officers could explain what 5G is; and their leading Government expert refused to attend the Court hearing. In conclusion, the Judge refused to gag Mark, stating:

“The public have a right to know.”

Read full story here

Meanwhile taking up the baton locally we have campaign group No5G Wirral who have sent us the following message :

Please find below a petition to Wirral Council that we have set up. 
Please could you sign and share with as many people as you are able.