Media Release – Laman Street trees safer than other fig trees in Newcastle 20.1.2012

The ex-row of beautiful Hill’s figs in Mayfield – do you think there was an arborist report saying they were going to fall down?

This is a media release from Save Our Figs Inc. Thanks to John Sutton and Fee Mozeley for putting this together.

Council figures show Laman St figs safer than average, say Save Our Figs

Newcastle Council‘s own figures (quoted in the media) on the record of tree failures over the past decade demonstrate that the Laman Street trees are safer than other inner city Hills figs, according to Save Our Figs.

“The council’s latest figures state that over the past 10 years, 36 inner city Hills figs have allegedly “failed” out of a population of 135,” SOF spokesperson, Dr Caity Raschke said.

“The vast majority of these trees were able to be removed before they presented any real risk, and SOF understands that only four of them (three allegedly in the 2007 Pasha Bulker storm) were total tree failures [see *below] associated with root plate instability, which is the only alleged significant risk identified by council’s experts from the Laman St trees.

“However, even if we accept the “worst case” figures of 36 failures out of 135, it means that around 27% of the inner city’s fig trees have been lost due to alleged failure over the past decade.

“In the case of the Laman St  trees (again on a worst case basis, remembering that *no tree has ever suffered total tree failure in Laman St), three out of 17 have been removed due to supposed concerns about risk – a rate of about 18%.

This means – according to Council’s own figures – that the Laman St trees are significantly safer than the average.

“Why is the council focusing on the Laman St trees, when their own data demonstrates that they have a lower than average historical failure rate?

“It’s important to note, too, that the council’s own consultant (Adrian Swain from Arboreport) has previously noted that the Pasha Bulker storm (when most of the recorded tree ‘failures’ over the past decade occurred) is likely to have removed the trees with the highest probability of failure.

“With Prof Mark Stewart demonstrating mathematically that there is only a 0.1% chance that the council’s estimated probability of failure for the Laman St trees is correct, and these latest figures indicating that the Laman St trees have a lower than average failure rate, it’s time for the council to accept that the likelihood of total tree failure in the Laman St trees has been grossly overestimated, as a mounting body of external expert opinion is indicating” Dr Raschke said.


I look forward to an admission that the calculations of risk in Laman Street by NCC have been grossly exaggerated.

And thanks to Sharon for sharing this with me:

 84 people a year die by drowning; swimming has become a “living hazard” and will now be stopped. All large bodies of water will be fenced off until they can systematically be removed and eradicated.


 The safety of the public is our only concern and of high priority. All other projects will be put aside, while money is channeled to this end. The safety of the public is our only concern and will justify the spending.


How many people die by Hills fig tree in Laman Street between Dawson & Darby Streets every year? Home



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