The following is a summary of discussions from the Save Nether Edge Trees public meeting on the 27th March 2017.
At this meeting after a round up of what had been happening in the campaign the past month, from Graham Turnbull, the 40 or so people present divided up into 6 smaller groups. The idea was to engage as many people as possible in discussion and facilitate the airing of a wide range of ideas and suggestions. And help us all build on past actions and inspire future ones.
There was a request for a written record so here are points raised in the small groups and recorded on a piece of flip chart paper by each group. We have grouped them in the general areas that emerged and added hopefully helpful information where we have it about what is going on already, or ways we know of to get involved.
As was said at the meeting, everyone has different talents, time commitments and probably views on how we are going to save our trees. We don’t know what in the end will make the difference, and probably it will be a combination of any of these things – tree protection, legal challenges, interaction whether reasoning with or challenging SCC, raising morale through fun and the arts.
There are so many brilliant ideas, and actions already taken. But plenty more that can be done, individually or with others. If you have an idea you wish to check out or wish to volunteer for something you can use the suggestion boxes on the websites:
SCC and politicians
- Contact Jeremy Corbyn and local MPs, Labour councillors letters and emails , visit councillor and MP surgeries – put times on Facebook/Website, contact Paul Blomfield re his questions to SCC on trees – he has asked for this in March CLP newsletter but we need to do it.
- Embarrass council – Mayor, Lodge, Dore. Note free events, put pressure on council labour group.
- Not attacking council.
- Complain to Local Government ombudsman. This needs some detailed thought and effort behind it. And it needs to be a specific complaint. Has anyone tried this?
- Question the council about the absence of negotiation with SNET and STAG
- A positive way out for SCC. This is exactly what the STAG negotiating team are trying to do – if you have ideas about how this could be done visit the SNET website and contact us via the suggestion box.
- Logging and disseminating documents and statements in particular of councillors and officers deception and spin in case we wish to keep making complaints about behaviour.
- Complaints- SCC admin and legal re councillor behaviour, lies, breach of code of conduct – contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to follow up a complaint yourself you can do so via the council website, but it is also an idea that could be coordinated and encouraged – volunteers?
- Campaign of complaints about Amey – standard of work, standard of tarmac, tarmac up to trees, barriers littering city etc. This is about to be launched shortly. Look out on the SNET website and Facebook page
- PFI contracts – how did Birmingham CC get out of contract? Highway specs vs recognition that trees should be kept, AMEY environmental policy, shareholders demo, become shareholders, who funds PFI contract? – Reputation. Birmingham is still stuck with their PFI contract. They have taken Amey to court about certain aspects of it, but the contract overall still remains. Hereford council and Liverpool council have altered/ended their less complicated service management contracts with Amey – any others? Someone could volunteer to lead this issues.
- Tree protection – standing beside trees etc. This has been done many times over the last 12 months. Action for all: Keeps an eye out for tree cutting and alert others through the SNET/STAG though face book. If you are able go and stand next to a tree and tell the crew you are there and oppose the felling. Join the campaigning group. See SNET website or the pinned post on the face book page.
LEGAL AND INSURANCE
- Legal angles – Contract, clean air policy – civil case with people with respiratory conditions. Several people seemed to be interested in this. Someone to find out whats going on in and outside of our campaign and link up and coordinate work on this. Public health people and people with respiratory conditions might also want to get involved in the campaign on this issue.
- Insurance – subsidence and heave, potential loss, liability check, photograph properties before felling . Chris Rust has worked on this and there is a downloadable leaflet on the Trees at Risk website.
- Writing to media with rebuttals based on fact – twitter, Sheffield Star, Sheffield Telegraph , National Media. Already being done by various campaigners. Lets keep on with this!
- Exposing spin and fake news. Another thing we can all do when we come across it. Also being done by various campaigners, led by the new STAG Press Group.
- Ribboning and decorating threatened trees. There are a team of four or more people constantly re-ribboning de-ribboned trees in the Nether Edge and Carter Knowle areas. However, there are plenty of trees that might appreciate a little decoration.
- Talking to people- Carry on taking to neighbours, friends and colleagues about this, pass on leaflets, go to events etc.
- Facebook issues – not all on FB so how communicate with everyone else who is a supporter/potential supporter? There is now a monthly newsletter which is sent to all supporters who have signed up to receive emails and is also published on our website. We also send ad-hoc emails to our supporters. The monthly public meetings are advertised on the SNET website. Next meetings are 24th of April and 22nd of May 8.00 Banner Cross pub. Happy to hear further suggestions on top of this?
- News sheet. – Delivered? The monthly newsletter (above) could be delivered to all local houses, we need someone to lead the fund raising and organise the printing and delivery of roughly 10,000 copies a month. Anyone willing to do this?
- Promote and use STAG YouTube channel.
- Buy and use mugs, bags hoodies etc.
- Page Advert in Star – coordination of this – when will it appear? This is already being done by various campaigners, led by the new STAG Press Group.
- War memorials.
- Heritage trees protection. Good idea, and already tried. Sadly Highways Act legislation trumps all environmental legislation. TPOs, Heritage Tree status, and various other categorisations secure no protection for the trees.
- Music events Roots of Steel coming up.
- Leafleting with current and new leaflet (countering the spin). The most recent leaflet, advertising the new website has now been delivered to nearly 10,000 houses across Nether Edge, Sharrow and Carter Knowle. We could do further leafleting, but this costs time and money, and requires leadership and coordination. If people are willing to lead this work, we’re happy to hear from volunteers.
- Survey of what residents really think. Done on Chippinghouse and Bannerdale Road. But for this to be turned into a reality, we need to find someone to really lead and push this. Volunteer to coordinate this lead this?
- Demos, rallies. Someone could coordinate and we all could pledge to attend!
- Shocking photos e.g. Montgomery Road now and then photo shopped without felled trees to show contrast. This is being done now.
- Contacting bigger eco organisations – facts, Woodland Trust, Trees For Cities.
- Contacting high profile supporters linked to Sheffield to engage/keep them engaged with campaign.
- More clarity, clear strategy, bringing council to account (lack of democracy), public consultation, businesses not consulted, political position/safety, saving healthy trees. STAG have recently published their clear aims See www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk summarised below.
HOW WE RUN THE CAMPAIGN
- 2 way communication – raising awareness and to council/AMEY etc.
- Communication sub group needed to liaise with media local and national and to coordinate communications to supporters. There is a new STAG Press Group.
- Reference point. Central coordination?
- Meetings useful but need some outcome not just talking shop. Save Nether Edge Trees is a local group that is autonomous but operates broadly within the aims of Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) which is the ‘umbrella group representing all tree groups throughout the city, leading a city-wide campaign to encourage the local authority to adopt a sustainable, approach to management of the city-wide tree population’ and that ‘the city tree strategy, drafted in accordance with current arboricultural good practice’ should include a sub strategy for highway trees’ . SNET started as one of a number of local campaigns in the summer of 2015 (Crookes, Dore, Greenhill) and STAG. A group of around 8/14 people meet regularly- a decision was taken to remain small at this point when the felling crews are scheduled to chopping down trees in Nether Edge, in order to make sure that a stable group can keep up with developments and act effectively. This started with the original group in 2015, but has had a changing membership, with people working for a while, and new people come in.