Thursday, 3 June 2010

Berman & parks cause wanton damage 2waxcap meadow of Regional Importance.

Letter 17 April 2010 To R Berman N Howells D Bowen N McEvoy 

We note there has been significant damage to the meadow-woodland in Bute Park between the feeder canal and the Nursery, despite a SINC (special interest for nature conservation) being declared for this area last year on account of the (rare) waxcap fungi.

Could you kindly supply documents showing what assessment was made of potential damage by
  • use of tar-macadam which would leach chemicals including PAHs
  • use of grass turves which could harbour organisms harmful to the waxcaps
  • spreading of quantities of imported soil and sand which could bring in microorganisms and chemicals harmful to the current waxcap-friendly ecosystem. 

We see that the grassland and woodland area affected by the works is as much as 4.5-5 metres either side of the roadways, compared with 2 metres specified in the planning documents.  Can you supply documents to show how and why this substantial deviation from proposals put at the planning stage came about, including who was consulted within the Council?

For constructing pathway/road through the meadow, the planning consent required avoiding damage to tree roots and trees which are of high amenity value As the contractors removed grass in excavations prior to laying the base of the widened road and, in doing so, exposed and cut tree roots, please supply documentation on how this was reported by the developer and/or checked by Council officers, and documents on steps taken or to be taken over the breaches of Condition 10. We have filmed this process and you can see the damage occuring on utube.

We note also that the events manager promised in the presence of a police officer to provide a stewart to prevent accidents to cyclists at the dangerous very wide opening/entrace to the new industrial bridge into Bute Park but failed to do so. We object to staff working in  BUTE park parking vehicles at the bridge entrance. 

Can you also explain why a dropped kerb has been provided for pedestrians and disabled people with a huge lamp post in front of it? This is also in front of the new bridge entrance to Bute Park on North Road. We were told by the events manager and R Berman by email that there had been a safety audit so could you explain how such a dropped kerb obstructed by a lampost is safe and what action you will be taking to remedy this?  


Reply 28th MAY

Thank you for your email of 17 April.

Please be assured that your email has been investigated by the Operational Manager for Parks Services and the Bute Park Restoration Project Manager. They inform me that there is no significant damage to the meadow-woodland in Bute Park, as reported in your email.

They also confirm that a SINC was not declared for this area last year, as you indicate. As a result, no formal assessments were necessary for the use of tar-macadam, grass turves and imported soil. Despite this, the imported soil and turf we used was bought from approved sources and in line with planning conditions.

You mention that the grassland and woodland area is as much as 4.5-5 metres either side of the roadways. The planning drawing shows an indicative 3.5m graded edge from the path but notes the embankment is “to be feathered out at various grades”. The grading from the access to the grassland has been undertaken to achieve a sympathetic visual appearance. Please be assured that this has been undertaken in accordance with planning conditions and we have not deviated from the proposals put at planning stage. As a result, no formal consultation was undertaken and there are no related documents because this was not necessary.

In terms of the planning consent required for constructing the pathway through the meadow, I can confirm that all works have been undertaken in accordance with the arboricultural method statement. I understand that this statement has previously been supplied to you. I can also assure you that the works was supervised by an independent arboricultural consultant and Council officers.   

I would like to inform you that we provided stewards during the whole RHS show operation to ensure safety and effective traffic management. The new access entrance to the park was stewarded by the Council’s Events Team during the show set up and throughout the duration of the show. Might I suggest that any vehicles seen at the bridge entrance were likely to have belonged to contractor staff working on site, or those held temporarily as part of the event management process?
The lamppost that you refer to has been installed to provide adequate lighting in the area. I can confirm that a road safety audit was carried out in April and no specific road safety issues were identified. Therefore, we believe that no further action is needed.

(pic of SAFE lampost in front of pedestrian dropped kerb)

I trust that this information is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely
Councillor Rodney Berman
Leader of Cardiff Council

2009 Waxcap atlas includes:
The following existing SINCs now have waxcaps as a qualifying feature:
• Blackweir Wood (this site includes Bute Park Arboretum).
To say 'no significant damage' to the Arboretum meadow is clearly challengeable in terms of area and appearance.  The reply admits no assessments for impact of tar-macadam, grass turves and imported soil.  The excuse is the Planning consent, but that never considered the SINC.  Previous excuse was the waxcap site(s) was/were not affected, but they could not know.  So rodney Berman and friends - explain that!! 

The Waxcap atlas says it's of Regional Importance, with the only site in Cardiff for one species.  Also that the grassland has been reduced to a "small glade" and the 9 species are hardly seen fruiting 

cllr Rodney Berman and the officers are not qualified to make the assertion that there is "no significant damage" He and 
Cdf Parks Chiefs cause wanton damage to a waxcap meadow of Regional Importance.

Below is the full description from the Atlas / Max
Site Name: Bute Park Arboretum Grid Ref: ST17437735
Habitat: Amenity grassland (arboretum in parkland) Area (ha.): 0.05
Total taxa (spp.): Single visit taxa (spp.): 4
This is the only site in Cardifor the UK BAP species Date-coloured Waxcap H. spadicea. Despite
regular visits (at least four per year) to this very small site in every autumn from 2002 to 2008,
only a single fruiting body was recorded on one visit in September 2004. The species had
previously been recorded at the site in 1992 and 2000. This is a very atypical site for H. spadicea,
which usually occurs on thin soils over limestone rather than in alluvial plains in river valleys.
Although nine species have been recorded, fruiting by several species has been extremely
sparse; H. pratensis and H. conica have not been recorded since 2002, and H. quieta and H. ceracea 
have only been recorded on a single date each. The site is a remnant of the former unimproved pa
sture which became part of Bute Park Arboretum. It was originally planted with elms, which 
died of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. It was then replanted with a range of trees. What is left of 
the waxcap grassland is confined to a small glade.

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