Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Contractors destroy/Damage tree roots in Bute Park

Complaint to Cardiff City Council re destruction of tree roots in Bute Park and the lies by contractors

On the 11th Feb campaigner  Max Wallis  wrote to Richard Cole,
Senior Planning Officer,
Cardiff County Council to raise the issue of damage to tree roots in listed Bute Park.   –

I see they are running a loaded dumper truck along the track of the path from which the surface tarmac and base have been stripped, taking gravel etc. to the north of the Nursery.
This presumably means the truck runs over the tree roots that were supposed to be protected at great cost. Though dumper trucks have wide tyres to spread the load, this means less damage to near surface roots but not to those a foot or so deep.  
Have the contractors obtained technical advice that their procedure does not damage the tree roots?
And if not, will you intervene to stop it to prevent further damage?
And the reply …
Dear Mr Wallis
                    Richard Cole , ( Senior Planning Officer ) has asked me to respond to your e-mail dated 11 th February in which you express concern regarding the protection of tree roots as part of the above works
                     The roadway in question is one of a number of internal roadways and paths that are being upgraded using a "no dig " specification specifically designed  to overcome the potential root damage associated with conventional methods of roadway and path construction . The " no dig " method involves the contractor removing only the existing tarmac surface and leaving the existing sub base material intact . The  new roadway construction is then built up using a cell web system . This avoids excavating and cutting tree roots and results in little or no additional compaction .The whole operation is supervised closely by the contractor and the Council .
                 At the time of your visit and from your description the existing tar macadam surface had been removed exposing the existing sub base material . The contractor was using a dumper truck with floatation tyres to run stone material along the roadway on the existing sub base in advance of the cell web being laid . No tree roots were evident and certainly none were exposed .  Our records show that site conditions were surprisingly good during this period with no evidence of water ponding or wheel rutting on site .  I can also confirm that the contractor is fully aware of the " no dig "construction requirements .
                Under the circumstances whilst I appreciate your concern I am satisfied that no damage has occurred to adjacent tree roots and the "no dig " method  of roadway and path construction being used will ensure that this remains the case .
            The contractor has been made aware of your concern and I can assure you that we will continue to supervise the work .
            Thank you for your interest .   Mike Clark   Bute Park Restoration Project
Clark, Mike   - M.Clark@cardiff.gov.uk
Cole, Richard -  rcole@cardiff.gov.uk

Richard Cole,
Senior Planning Officer,

Cardiff County Council.

Richard - This reply from a rep of the developers is untruthful. The video on  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJsuu4QaZas shows them scooping up top soil with roots and quickly covering up the damage with sheeting .  Of course there were lots of roots where the track was being widened over current meadow, as well as roots in the roadway 'base' (over the 'sub-base he says they left).  Their use of a tracked JCB as well as running a dumper truck over it would inevitably have damaged finer roots in compressing the material.  From the reply we should infer they had no technical advice, on which I asked.

It's your department's responsibility to enforce planning conditions.  Omitting independent inspection and enforcement would be preferential treatment.   In this case did you simply refer my complaint to the 'developers'?   And delay inspection till they have covered the excavations and their tracks.  What action is now open to you, in the light of this untruthful and unprofessional behaviour, after the damage?
Regards / Max

This is a story of the Destruction of trees and the concreting over of Bute Park particularly the building of a bridge and road for articulated lorries. There is no organisation here in Wales prepared to protect trees and the environment in listed Bute Park.
Already the extremely rare Wilson’s holly (Ilex altaclarensis
‘Wilsonii’) may have been removed/chopped down.

A considerable number of the trees lie adjacent to the paths that
would be affected by the scheme and one lies in the line of the
realigned path at the east end of the bridge. I wrote to CADW to find out what has happened to it without a result and you can read this correspondence here
Other mature trees are being damaged at this moment and the council will do nothing to stop the roots being damaged. A very short film (3 mins) on utube shows the damage being done. Pictures of the damage to trees can be seen here

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