The main tree related event on the Acocks Green calandar this month was the planting of a new tree on Acocks Green’s green space, The Westley Vale Millenium Green, by Lord Mayor Len Gregory. This was followed by a blessing ritual for the site. Toasts were ceremoniously hung from an oak tree and Pagan wasailling … including singing, the scattering of cider and a cande light processsion – all to help the trees grow. The ceremony went off splendidly.
However, on their way to this celebration of Acocks Green’s trees, some Focus Group members photographed, in Yardley Road, the notice displayed on a tree and reproduced at the top of this post. This had already set people in Acocks Green talking. There were two more of these notices in the immediate vicinity, on two more large mature trees. What was going on? With such limited information, such a huge gap to be cleared, extremely short notice (The notices appeared about 36 hours before the promised event.) , no way at all of contacting Amey (we tried) and a published Council schedule of tree work that made no mention of Yardley Road, concerns quickly deepened. Were we about to lose some of our mature trees?
Acocks Green people love their trees: see above and also the longer History. The Focus Group came about partly because of some genuine threats to trees in the centre of Acocks Green. The affection of Acocks Gren for its trees was swiftly demonstrated again. Emergency plans were put in to place to deter Amey until Monday morning, if necessary, and pending proper discussions. Fortunately, this proved to be a false alarm. The lower branches of the trees canopies were being ‘lifted’ slightly so that street lighting was not obscured. All resistance plans were quickly cancelled (The internet, with a little telephone backup, can be a wonderful thing … )
This clearly left some questions to be answered though. Why were Amey displaying cryptic, and, frankly, scarey notices like this at such short notice?
We have now had detailed discussions with Amey area Rep Jason Bickley, and Amey Yardley Area Manager Calvin Richardson.
- The missing correct number for Jason Bickley is 0797 187 9059.
- Jason would not have been available at the weekend anyway.
- However they take the point that the notices were ill thought out. In future notices like this on trees should be going up around two weeks in advance of any work, and will display emergency contact details.
- Amey are not intending to remove any healthy mature trees in Birmingham.
- Since taking over tree maintenance for the Council Amey have recently completed a survey of all street trees in Birmingham. Apparently they are around 80,000 trees. Such a survey has not previously been carried out on this scale. All these trees are now noted on a GPS map.
- There will be a new five year programme
for trees, to replace BCC’s present three year programme. Each tree has been surveyed to see what is required by way of maintenance, pruning etc.
- Trees will only be removed if they are dangerous. No tree in the whole of the Yardley Constituency has been assessed as dangerous, so there should be no tree removal.
The new tree programme will be up for Consultation shortly, probably at the next Yardley Constituency meeting. (27 January, 2010) Presumably the plans will also appear at other Constituency meetings in Birmingham.
Additional comment on this issue can also be found on Acocks Green Ward Councillor Roger Harmer’s blog here.