Month: June 2018

Sheffield tree campaign

According to Worcester News, three anti-tree felling campaigners have avoided jail sentences after they were found in contempt of court for breaching an injunction stopping them going inside work safety zones during controversial protests in Sheffield.

Creative writing lecturer Simon Crump, songwriting magician Benoit Compin and retired primary school teacher Fran Grace were found in contempt by a judge at the High Court in Sheffield on Thursday following a three-day hearing of an action brought by Sheffield City Council.

The judge, Mr. Justice Males, gave both Crump and Compin a two-month prison sentence, suspended for one year. He decided no further punishment was appropriate for grandmother Grace.

The judge ruled that the trio had breached an injunction obtained by the council last year which prevents protesters entering safety zones set up around trees being felled and also forbids people encouraging or facilitating anyone else to break the injunction, including through social media.

He said he would reserve judgment on a fourth defendant – Paul Brooke – as he said there were further legal issues to consider. The judge said he would also rule on costs at a later date. The controversial tree-felling programme in Sheffield is currently paused following a fresh series of confrontations earlier this year which saw dozens of police deployed and protesters arrested.

The dispute surrounds a 25-year, £2.2 billion private finance initiative agreement the council signed with contractor Amey. Tree felling in Sheffield, The council says only a small proportion of the city’s 36,000 street trees are being removed (Peter Byrne/PA)

The contract includes a huge program to resurface thousands of miles of Sheffield’s pothole-ridden road system and, as part of this; Amey is tasked with maintaining roadside trees. The council says only a small proportion of the city’s 36,000 street trees are being removed because they are diseased or dangerous.

Office site trees spared from Sanitary District

According to Coastal View, in the end, none of the neighbors to the Carpinteria Sanitary District offices needed to chain themselves to the blue gum eucalyptus trees that CSD proposed to cut down. At a standing-room-only meeting on May 15, the Board of Directors voted 5-0 to retain “most if not all” of the nine trees on the property that were slated to be removed as part of a proposed plan to rebuild a permanent office at the 5300 6th Street site. Neighbors to the property had implored the board to reconsider the plan because three of the trees are giant eucalyptus that together with the other trees comprise a special ecosystem for wildlife and idyllic space for the public. Plans to chop the trees were motivated by the risk of sudden limb drop, for which the stately eucalyptus are notorious.

CSD General Manager Craig Murray said, “We looked at these trees in a very analytical way. It was risk-oriented. We’ve seen these trees drop limbs … one is 10 inches in diameter and 50 feet in length.” He said after meeting with neighbors and gauging community interest, the district was willing to live with some risk. Building plans called for the removal of the nine trees but replacing them at a 3-to-1 ratio with native oaks and sycamores, which Murray said he considered a good trade off on paper. The 400-year-old Portola Sycamore tree on the property, a historical landmark and most beloved of the stand, was never in consideration for removal, McdVoice survey.

Numerous members of the public attended the meeting in part to defend the trees and were quickly relieved of concern on that front; however, neighbors still take issue with the size and orientation of the proposed office building. Members of the Board of Directors explained that the current office consists of temporary trailers that were erected in 1991 and the City of Carpinteria issued a deadline of 2019 to build a permanent office at the site.