Media release – Mike Ellison 28.12.2011

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This is the media release we sent out yesterday about the  visit to Newcastle by the developer of Quantified tree risk assessment , Mike Ellison,  sponsored by Save Our Figs.

From the questions I’ve had about this from journalists today, I look forward to stories about his objectivity in the press tomorrow.

I have thought since I first started taking notice of government consultants that their title needs to disclose who is commissioning their work.

Anyway: looking forward to his visit.

* Thanks to John Sutton from Save OUr Figs for the following:

Council bans UK tree risk guru from Laman St


Newcastle Council has denied a request for an internationally renowned tree risk assessment expert to access Laman Street to inspect the Laman Street fig trees.

The bombshell was dropped late last week via a memo to all councillors from the council’s Director of Liveable Cities, Frank Cordingley, in response to a request for access to the street for Mike Ellison, the inventor of the risk assessment method (QTRA) on which the council’s consulting arborists have  relied for their recommendations about risk measures in Laman St.

These assessments have been widely criticised by external experts as exaggerated and flawed.

SOF wanted Mr Ellison to look at the trees because there is no one in the world more qualified than he is to conduct a proper Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA).

However, Mr Cordingley’s memo says that Mr Ellison can “view the trees from outside the exclusion zone, use binoculars, take pictures etc, but will not be allowed inside the worksite”.

Mr Cordingley’s memo attempts to play down the place of QTRA in the council’s “body of evidence”.

However, in a memo to councillors on 18 July this year, Mr Cordingley thought it “noteworthy” to state that “the Council’s current risk mitigation strategy is based on the more recent QTRA’s of Mr [Adrian] Swain”.


“Four of the five consultant arborist reports on which the council relies for its risk case against the trees are QTRA reports, so Mr Cordingley’s attempt to play down the significance of QTRA is effectively admitting that the council’s much vaunted “body of evidence” on the risk posed by the trees is a rapidly decomposing corpse.

“Mr Cordingly’s bizarre response exposes yet again how desperate council staff are to keep the truth from being revealed about the real level of risk posed by the Laman Street trees.

“A council consultant arborist (Dennis Marsden) was allowed into the site only recently to inspect the trees – why would they deny someone of Mr Ellison’s stature onto the site to conduct a routine inspection?

“The list of reasons Mr Cordingley gives for denying Mr Ellison access to the site is ludicrous, even citing an alleged ‘contractual relationship’ between him and a prominent Australian arborist, Mark Hartley, who has previously written reports critical of the council’s evidence and argument on the Laman St trees.


“Mr Cordingley has previously argued that arborists who have a contractual relationship with the council to produce reports on the trees are “independent”, but is now arguing that two arborists who have a contractual relationship on a matter that has nothing to do with the trees cannot be independent!


‘Mr Ellison is perfectly capable of bringing professionalism to bear and telling it how he sees it. Does Council say experts are affected by the person who pays them?


“This latest move to hide the truth exposes a level of hypocrisy, bad faith, illogic and desperation in the council’s stance that will stun even people who don’t care about the trees.

“Allowing Mr Ellison access to Laman St would cost the council nothing – except the risk that he might say something to question their evidence that the trees pose an unacceptable risk.

“We call on council to reverse this outrageous ban that will make Newcastle Council even more of a laughing stock in the eyes of its own community and the rest of the world.”

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3 Responses to “Media release – Mike Ellison 28.12.2011”

  1. Scott CooperJohnston (@ScotCoJohn) Says:

    I believe My Cordingley should consider employment elsewhere.

  2. Shepsta Says:

    SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL SACK THE COUNCIL

  3. Shani Sandner Says:

    Fascism by Newcastle Council.
    Well might we say God Save the Queen because….Nothing will save the Newcastle Council when people realise they are nothing but a dictatorship.

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