Arborist quotes on casebooks 24.11.2011

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Re-reading old emails I found some references to what Newcastle City Council erroneously call a casebook – that’s the mega file of tree failures that takes no account of all the trees that haven’t failed. You can find this 14MB file on Council’s website: they’re very proud of it.

I wonder how many times it’s been presented to elected Councillors to keep them in a state of fear. Three arborists commented on it: here’s some of what they had to say:

‘This is a rather worrying tunnel-visioned approach of deciding on a
conclusion, and then attempting to bolster it with any evidence, no matter

how contradictory, to reinforce it.  The all too simple question they seem

reluctant to address, or even register, in this pursuit of a done deal, is

why aren’t all large street trees, or indeed any large trees with

substantially asymmetric root systems adjacent to hard standing, not

throwing themselves onto the ground all over the world whenever it gets a

 bit blowy.’

And ‘The casebook shows that they have no idea of the tensile function of roots, since they expect sinker roots to provide lateral support and most importantly they demonstrate if you go cutting the roots and abusing the trees there is an increased risk of failure [a presumed reference to trees in streets like Tyrrell Street where roots were cut on the gutter side of several trees and unsurprisingly the trees failed soon afterwards] . … It would appear based on the data that in the last 10 years about 10 Hill’s figs have failed due to root plate failure (including those that stood themselves up again and then consolidated the soil and hard surfaces back in place [a reference to the tree ‘failures’ in 2007 in Laman Street where the root plates are supposed to have tilted themselves out of the ground but there is no evidence of this in photos from days later[). For a city with 1200 Hill’s figs that gives me a high degree of reassurance.’

‘As time passes this reminds me more and more of the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” They paid for all this information, rolled out great plans based on its accuracy and now are struggling to say “we got it wrong.”

And my personal sad favourite:

‘These trees will still be standing when I am laying flat under the ground.’

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One Response to “Arborist quotes on casebooks 24.11.2011”

  1. Maria Says:

    One of the things i love about Newcastle, are the fig trees.. they are majestic in their stand against the sky and their offer of shade and street splendour. Why would the Council want to chop them down when they’re not endangering life or structure? A short-sighted decision based on fear-mongering amongst the politicians meant to have their constituents best interests at heart, will ruin this beautiful attraction in Newcastle, especially for visitors to the city such as me. If the trees truly pose a danger, then all avenues to circumvent or improve that position should be investigated before deciding to chop them down.

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