Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Brent Council accused of mendacity over trees/paving policy

Salmon Street, NW9 - August 2019

 From an email sent to Brent Council:
RE: Brent Council Announces Climate Emergency And Then Chops Down All The Trees

Are you still insisting we hold a meeting outside in the dark today, at rush hour, before most residents have got home ?

I am unsure exactly what you propose to convey to us with your "brief discussion" in these conditions; we obviously will not be able to see the trees you mention.

Is it your intension to try to confine this discussion only to these remaining eleven trees on Furness Road ?

As you know the systematic destruction of Brent’s wonderful & varied stock of mature trees has been ongoing for a decade. 

Many of us have correspondence with the council going back several years regarding the tragic culling of mature and healthy trees outside our homes.

Amid repeated broken promises of them being replaced, line upon line have been erased from our streets. Furness Road has suffered terribly. And it continues.

We would like them back.

Who is sending these chainsaw gangs around the borough and why?
Similar action by another council in a recent case was described by Michael Gove (then Minister for the Environment) as “Ecological Vandalism’.

At an impromptu gathering outside Furness Rd School last Monday, a council representative claimed that it is Brent Council’s intention to replace ALL paving stones throughout the whole borough with asphalt.
Can you confirm if this is true ?

If so, what volume of asphalt in tonnage is likely to be purchased by the council ? 

I’m sure rough estimates by quantity-surveyors were calculated before such a decision was made.

What calculations regarding carbon offsetting, to cancel-out the use of such a large quantity of petroleum-based bitumen/asphalt have been completed ?

And, how does the felling of thousands, of mature trees help in this offsetting?

Clearly, in spite of recent claims by Brent Council, that they are in some way concerned with the environment, their actions (historic & ongoing), and recent decisions regarding pavements and canopy cover (without consultation) demonstrate the opposite. Indeed, it shows utter contempt.

This amounts to a public relations disaster for Brent Council & current MP, and yet further anger & frustration for the borough’s long-suffering residents.

Finally, I understand Krupa Seth will be attending today.

I do look forward to Counciller Sheth's answers to our previously unanswered questions and outstanding FOI requests sent to her under separate cover.

And a response to the above email from a resident with whom it was shared:

Thank you for an intelligent and insightful email which rightly centres on Brent Councils casual disregard for its tree stock and the profligate waste of money caused by this approach to pavement works, that is compounded by the damaging use of the extensive amounts of a fossil fuel derivative.

Brent Council has a corporate responsibility to reduce the amount of fossil fuel use in the borough – not increase it steadily.
This is for obvious reasons – obvious to everyone else, except the officers of Brent Council.

Brent is fortunate in that it appears to have many intelligent, engaged people who really do care about their borough and the way it is managed – it is deeply shameful that Brent Council continues with its ruinous pursuit of degrading the public realm facilitated by a Council that views its environmental responsibilities as a minor inconvenience.

I see again, the mendacious line trotted out again that a replacement sapling is in anywhere near a reasonable replacement of a mature tree as regards the large environmental benefits provided by a mature tree.

It will take decades for the replacement sapling to reach the same amounts of carbon sequestration, the production of oxygen, reduction in solar gain and the ecological benefits for wildlife.

Anyone with common sense can see the lunacy and ignorance of that statement – any honest arborist would tell you exactly the same thing. 
You would think it should be incumbent for the officers of Brent Council to be aware of this basic fact – this is not a difficult of overly complicated concept.

If not, they are either ignorant or incompetent or just plain dishonest.

This is a borough wide issue regardless of Brent Council's opinion and residents will continue to fight this environmental degradation everywhere in the borough.

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