'Diseased trees must be felled' says Oxford City Council

thisisoxfordshire: Phillip Bradley in front of the trees Phillip Bradley in front of the trees

RESIDENTS’ fears that two trees are being sacrificed to make way for solar panels in council homes are unjustified, say Town Hall experts.

Oxford City Council tree officers have told residents that they are determined to cut down the pair of rowans in South Street, Osney Island, despite their objections.

Council officers say the trees have a fungal disease and are in danger of falling down.

But some residents believe the felling is linked to plans to install solar panels in a row of council flats immediately behind them, as part of a bid to make homes more energy efficient.

Residents were told that the trees must come down in a letter from city council leader Bob Price and Barbara Hammond, representing the West Oxford Community Renewables group.

The letter set out plans to install solar photovoltaic panels in the roof of the South Street council housing block to produce renewable electricity from the sun, a part of a collaboration between the community group and the council.

It heralded the move as a “classic win-win where tenants will get the electricity generated by the panels free of charge”, while the feed-in tarriff would fund further work of the local low-carbon group.

The council said replacement trees would need to be smaller “so that they do not shade the panels”.

Phillip Bradley, of West Street, Osney, put up a large board urging locals to “wake-up” to what was happening to the trees. He said: “I think it is outrageous. These people seem to think that they have a right to do whatever they want.

“I would like a second opinion to determine whether these trees are really diseased.

“They certainly look healthy to everyone. Is it worth cutting them down for the sake of solar panels? I know many people would say trees have an altogether greater beneficial impact on the local environment.”

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On Monday, city council tree officer Shaun Gibson and Stuart Fitzsimmons, park and open spaces manager, met a dozen residents.

Mr Fitzsimmons said: “The trees are only coming down because they are diseased, not because of the solar panels. They have ganoderma and are unsafe. We are worried that in high winds they could come down.”

He said the disease came to light during an inspection in advance of the panels going in. Both trees would be replaced later in the year, he said.

But he declined to tell residents when the trees would be felled because of the risk of protesters occupying the trees, putting themselves and council staff at risk.

Kate Stewart, chairman of the Osney Island Residents’ Association, said: “We have reluctantly to accept that the trees are diseased, but we now have an assurance from the city parks department that local residents will be consulted about their replacements.”

Susanna Pressel, Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney, who was involved in an unsuccessful campaign to save 12 willow trees lining the River Thames in nearby East Street three years ago, said: “It is a tragedy that these trees have to come down. In this case at least they really are diseased. But I will personally make sure that replacement trees go in as soon as possible.”

news@oxfordmail.co.uk

Comments (8)

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10:48am Wed 28 Jul 10

Berty says...

I expect the tree that fell down and killed a young girl in her car in Oxford a while back "looked" healthy. Get a second opinion, and I would say get it before you look like an idiot if the tree is, indeed, unhealthy. Not everything is a conspiracy theory.
I expect the tree that fell down and killed a young girl in her car in Oxford a while back "looked" healthy. Get a second opinion, and I would say get it before you look like an idiot if the tree is, indeed, unhealthy. Not everything is a conspiracy theory. Berty
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Wed 28 Jul 10

Foxy Lady says...

Im my experience tree officers dont actually like trees. Remember Osney - the residents had all their trees cut down, along with a 70 yr old chestnut tree in the Allotment site on botely Road - only afterwards did the council actually admit the trees had NOTHING wrong with them. its because of 'elf&safety' that trees go under the saw to safeguard the council 'just in case'. Those trees look quite young, they look healthy externally and there are not many tree diseases that attack these type of trees - a second and i think a third opinion from external parties should definatly be given before anything gets the 'chop'.

Put it this way, if no solar panels were arriving soon, then the trees would stil be there. Its all red tape and back handers.
Im my experience tree officers dont actually like trees. Remember Osney - the residents had all their trees cut down, along with a 70 yr old chestnut tree in the Allotment site on botely Road - only afterwards did the council actually admit the trees had NOTHING wrong with them. its because of 'elf&safety' that trees go under the saw to safeguard the council 'just in case'. Those trees look quite young, they look healthy externally and there are not many tree diseases that attack these type of trees - a second and i think a third opinion from external parties should definatly be given before anything gets the 'chop'. Put it this way, if no solar panels were arriving soon, then the trees would stil be there. Its all red tape and back handers. Foxy Lady
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Wed 28 Jul 10

blanco says...

Ganoderma is not treatable. The only effective treatment is the removal of the tree.

What a waste of mobey it would eb if the council got a second and third opinion for every tree it cut down - can you imagine how much tax payers money would be wasted?

Red tape and back handers, my ar5e. Google the symptoms of ganoderma, go and look at the trees yourself, then you might change your minds. Just because the trees dont look ill, it doesnt mean they arent ill. People with cancer don't always 'look' ill. Doesnt mean they dont have a disease.

While you are googling ganoderma, why not google solar panels to see how they work, too? They dont NEED direct sunlight to work efficiently, so the removal of the trees would have no impact on theirefficiency.
Ganoderma is not treatable. The only effective treatment is the removal of the tree. What a waste of mobey it would eb if the council got a second and third opinion for every tree it cut down - can you imagine how much tax payers money would be wasted? Red tape and back handers, my ar5e. Google the symptoms of ganoderma, go and look at the trees yourself, then you might change your minds. Just because the trees dont look ill, it doesnt mean they arent ill. People with cancer don't always 'look' ill. Doesnt mean they dont have a disease. While you are googling ganoderma, why not google solar panels to see how they work, too? They dont NEED direct sunlight to work efficiently, so the removal of the trees would have no impact on theirefficiency. blanco
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Wed 28 Jul 10

blanco says...

Ganoderma is not treatable. The only effective treatment is the removal of the tree.

What a waste of mobey it would eb if the council got a second and third opinion for every tree it cut down - can you imagine how much tax payers money would be wasted?

Red tape and back handers, my ar5e. Google the symptoms of ganoderma, go and look at the trees yourself, then you might change your minds. Just because the trees dont look ill, it doesnt mean they arent ill. People with cancer don't always 'look' ill. Doesnt mean they dont have a disease.

While you are googling ganoderma, why not google solar panels to see how they work, too? They dont NEED direct sunlight to work efficiently, so the removal of the trees would have no impact on theirefficiency.
Ganoderma is not treatable. The only effective treatment is the removal of the tree. What a waste of mobey it would eb if the council got a second and third opinion for every tree it cut down - can you imagine how much tax payers money would be wasted? Red tape and back handers, my ar5e. Google the symptoms of ganoderma, go and look at the trees yourself, then you might change your minds. Just because the trees dont look ill, it doesnt mean they arent ill. People with cancer don't always 'look' ill. Doesnt mean they dont have a disease. While you are googling ganoderma, why not google solar panels to see how they work, too? They dont NEED direct sunlight to work efficiently, so the removal of the trees would have no impact on theirefficiency. blanco
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Wed 28 Jul 10

peapoddy2 says...

Regarding the news item above about the three alleged rapists: under Muslim sharia law the men cannot be found guilty as a rape charge requires 4 male witnesses. In fact, the woman can be found guilty of adultery! I'm glad we still have UK laws!
Regarding the news item above about the three alleged rapists: under Muslim sharia law the men cannot be found guilty as a rape charge requires 4 male witnesses. In fact, the woman can be found guilty of adultery! I'm glad we still have UK laws! peapoddy2
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Wed 28 Jul 10

Resident of Oxford says...

Yes, Wake up people, see what Oxford City Council is up to. It wants to destroy what is at the heart of Oxford's specialness. Problem is few people know what is actually planned for the next few years for Oxford, and probably wouldn't believe what bonkers schemes they are actually planning until it is too late.
Yes, Wake up people, see what Oxford City Council is up to. It wants to destroy what is at the heart of Oxford's specialness. Problem is few people know what is actually planned for the next few years for Oxford, and probably wouldn't believe what bonkers schemes they are actually planning until it is too late. Resident of Oxford
  • Score: 0

8:16am Thu 29 Jul 10

the wizard says...

Ok, lets go along and keep the trees', then when they fall, cause damage etc the people who want them saved can do all the necessary in the clear up operation, and pay out for the compensation for damage to property etc. That way we will all be happy. Less expense to the Council and those who want to, put their money where their mouth is, can do so. Simples.
Ok, lets go along and keep the trees', then when they fall, cause damage etc the people who want them saved can do all the necessary in the clear up operation, and pay out for the compensation for damage to property etc. That way we will all be happy. Less expense to the Council and those who want to, put their money where their mouth is, can do so. Simples. the wizard
  • Score: 0

10:14am Thu 29 Jul 10

Berty says...

Seems to me OCC can't win. They were responsible when someone was killed by a diseased tree but get called eco-vandals when they do as advised and order diseased trees to be felled. If people are concerned about their local ecosystem there are many local projects which need help, such as Nature Reserves in Abingdon and the Copse in Steventon. Oh yes, and clearing ditches to reduce flooding.
Seems to me OCC can't win. They were responsible when someone was killed by a diseased tree but get called eco-vandals when they do as advised and order diseased trees to be felled. If people are concerned about their local ecosystem there are many local projects which need help, such as Nature Reserves in Abingdon and the Copse in Steventon. Oh yes, and clearing ditches to reduce flooding. Berty
  • Score: 0

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