Discussion Forum
Tree Felling on Burnley Road Playing Field

From Peter Ford
Monday, 18 May 2009

I noticed last week that a number of mature trees have been felled on Burnley road playing field.

Does anyone know who is doing this and for what reason?

It does seem a great shame when you see trees that have taken centuries to grow chopped up into small pieces.

From Nigel Smethurst
Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Hello Peter,

Yes it is always sad to see mature trees felled, however the decision was taken by Burnley Road School governors after consulting a tree surgeon over the health of the trees. His advice was that the trees were dying and were in a very dangerous condition, so the decision was taken to fell them before anyone got injured.

From Michael Piggott
Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The trees (beautiful specimens of horse chestnuts) looked perfectly healthy to me!

One wonders whether it's possible to obtain the opinion you want and pay for...

And what happened to the wood? Was the timber used? Or is it to be just firewood?

From John Knapp
Thursday, 11 June 2009

If the trees needed an inspection to consider their health, a tree surgeon is the wrong choice. He is basically a technician whose role is to create work for himself. If the school was genuinely interested in the Trees, then a suitably qualified arboriculturalist should have been asked. It seems odd that all the trees had become dangerous at the same moment. An arboriculturalist may have suggested management choices other than felling.

From Scott Patient
Friday, 12 June 2009

As a parent of a child at the school I don't doubt for a moment that proper consultation was given before the removal of the trees. I'm sure the governors have better areas of the school they would rather divert their funds to than felling some trees - unless they truly were sick, therefore posing a potential threat to 4-11 year olds who play in this area. Arborists and tree surgeons are very similar in field and im sure (knowing tree surgeons myself) that proper consultation was given, surgeons are proffessionals and never fell trees unless absolutely needed.

From John Knapp
Friday, 12 June 2009

A tree surgeon will fell any tree the client wishes; it is his livelyhood. Of course he has the option to refuse the job but like anyone else, he does it for a wage. Many healthy trees are felled for all kinds of reasons. There is nothing wrong with that, provided there is no legal requirement not to do so.

A registered Arboricultural Consultant is qualified and trained to give impartial advice on the tree's health and recommend what work is required to make the tree safe.

In this case, maybe the Horse Chestnuts were demonstrably dangerous, and presumably the tree surgeon will have given a written report on the health of the trees. I don't believe the school governors were just given a verbal report.

What we don't know is the sequence of events. Did the school think the trees were looking unhealthy or was it a necessary routine health and safety inspection for legal purposes. If the latter, the best solution is a registered arboriculturalist.

From Rev Tony Buglass
Sunday, 14 June 2009

What a lot of second-guessing is going on here!

Like others, the first I noticed was when I saw the trees actually being felled. Then I read Nigel's comment above, and accepted that the governors were doing their job. Now I read later comments on the thread, and I'm amazed. I've been a school governor - I don't do it now, and I've refused several requests to be one simply because of the amount of bumf I had to wade through to do the job in latter years. I'm glad I'm not a school governor, if to do the job I not only had to wade through tons of local government bumf (believe me, it's even worse than ecclesiastical bureaucratic bumf...) but then also had to read criticisms and second-guessing from people who weren't part of the discussion or decision.

School governors take on a fair weight of responsibility. Unless things have changed since I did it, there are no expenses or fees. And they do have to work within the school budget. I suspect that they wouldn't have touched the trees unless there was a real problem, and that they consulted the right people before touching the trees.

Of course, there is always the possibility of a problem supplying all the paper required to print all this local government bumf, so the governors hatched a dastardly underhanded plot to sell the trees to a paper company. Supply bumf, and boost the school funds at the same time! Never thought of that one... Same company as the one which got the trees from the Eastwood railway embankment last year? Do we smell a conspiracy? Tell the Bridge Times to send their best investigative reporter at once!

From Michael Piggott
Sunday, 14 June 2009

Some people may not 'doubt for a moment that proper consultation was given before the removal of the trees. I'm sure the governors have better areas of the school they would rather divert their funds to than felling some trees' - to quote Scott Patient. However, maybe the governors made money from the felling, rather than spending it? I think we should be told. What happened to the timber?

Some of us saw the cut logs and the wood looked perfectly healthy!

Trees can always be seen as dangerous, one way or another. What would you do, Scott, cut them all down? Wouldn't that represent a much greater threat to the health of our children, in the long run?