Media release: risk assessments out of date: 27.1.2012

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An oldie but a goodie: one of my greatest honours: banned from a chainsaw website

MEDIA RELEASE

Newcastle City Council can’t say the Laman Street trees are unsafe:

NO risk assessment is current

So what does NCC base a decision about tree removal on?

One of Newcastle council’s own experts said today that their QTRA (risk) assessment of the Laman Street trees was no longer valid as it is over twelve months since its production. This is the assessment the insurer is required to rely on.
Spokesperson for Save Our Figs (SOF) Fee Mozeley said, “I was surprised to learn that the QTRA Risk of Harm calculations only relate to the 12 month period after it is performed. The QTRA system states Manual states that “The risk of significant harm from tree failure is an estimate of the likelihood that within the coming year”.*
‘When I heard this I decided to look into the limitations of the Matheny and Clarke method, which is the other method council used and learned that this method is also only considered reliable able for up to 12 months, though usually are only considered valid for 2 to 3 months post assessment.

This means that in terms of risk assessment, which is what the insurer is required to rely on, there are NO current risk assessments for council to be basing its decision for tree removal on.

Council has repeatedly positioned the community as being ‘unreasonable’ in requesting a further risk assessment. It is now clear that it should be done as a matter of course.

“Council needs to start managing these trees appropriately and do a TRANSPARENT and SCIENTIFICALLY RIGOROUS risk assessment. 

Council reasserted its reliance on the findings of ‘four expert risk assessments ‘earlier this week in the full-page advertisement which reproduced more of its fig propaganda. We now know that there are NO current risk assessments for Council to rely on to justify their destructive agenda.

Three of these risk assessments were conducted by using the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment Method (QTRA) and one in-house assessment conducted by Lindsay Field (City Arborist) using a visual tree assessment method known as Matheny & Clarke. The QTRA assessments were conducted on 2/09/2009, 9/03/2010 and 12/7/2010. The Matheny & Clarke assessment was conducted in September 2010.” said Ms Mozeley “Go back to the drawing board and do it properly.’

*edited 28.1.2012

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