Wednesday, 24 August 2016

T I M B E R R R R ! ! !

Sycamore (Acer pseudoplantanus) is an invasive tree species native to Central and Eastern Europe and introduced into the UK during the Tudor period. Because of it's rugged nature, tolerating a wide range of climates and soil types it has become popular as the tree of choice for new urban housing developments. This causes all sorts of problems later on though when it's large size (it can grow to 35 meters high) and spreading root system can damage the surrounding buildings it was intended to decorate.

It's famous helicopter winged seeds which are produced every year in vast numbers spread far and wide, invading gardens and hedgerows and, unless caught at a very early stage, can become virtually impossible to remove. Cutting them down without removing the root simply makes the grow even faster. You will often see them growing out of peoples hedges and overwhelming them.

Where I live, we are plagued by them. They were planted along the road when the houses here were first built and have taken over the entire area. Some of these roadside trees had to be removed a couple of years ago as the roots and branches were damaging the houses and lifting all the pavement slabs. For some reason though, they were not all removed; perhaps to keep the tree surgeon business busy.

When one wild specimen started growing in our garden some years ago, I notified our landlord (London & Quadrant) and advised them to remove it. At the time it was only a few feet high and a man with a ladder and a saw could have done the job in about ten  minutes. I wouldn't have had anywhere to put the resulting waste in case you are wondering why I didn't do it myself. 

The landlord's response was hard to fathom. They said that because it wasn't causing any damage at the moment, they wouldn't remove it. 

Can you believe that? They were actually going to wait until the tree had grown large enough to damage it's surroundings before they were going to do anything about it.

Fast forward about 15 years. The tree is now about 90 feet high; the roots have destroyed the footpath and lifted the garden fence. Now they are going to remove it but is it going to take just a man with a ladder and a saw? Of course not.

This job is going to take a team of tree surgeons to remove the tree; then someone else is going to have to come and repair the fence; then someone is going to have to come and lift all the paving slabs, clear all the tree roots, level the ground then replace the the slabs.

All of this work will have cost L&Q hundreds if not thousands of pounds, just because they wouldn't do the job when it first needed doing.

The Thames Path backs onto our garden and another two of these self-seeded Sycamores were growing just the other side of the garden fence on the land owned by Peabody. I could see the same problem happening again so I contacted both Peabody and London & Quadrant. Both completely ignored me.

A year later, I contacted Peabody again and again they ignored me but this time I persevered and just one year and three months and several emails later, I finally got a response. They, like L&Q decided that because there was nothing actually wrong with the trees, they were going to leave them where they were. They did say they were going to have them "lifted" which apparently means 'give them a good prune'. The tree surgeons must be laughing all the way to the bank. Now they have been pruned, these trees are going to grow like buggery meaning that instead of having a one-off job, they are now going to have to come back every year to do it again.

The irony is that none of this is going to be any good in the long run because they will still have to be removed eventually when they become too large to manage. In the mean time, the tree surgeon business is raking it in.

Some people are just too stupid for words.



Disclaimer - not a picture of
Councillor Peter Craske
One of the things I like to do is help support other local bloggers and although you cannot actually read his blog any more as it was removed soon after it began, I would still like to give a mention to Bexley Council Cabinet Member Peter Craske who has been trumpeting the council's new litter, dog fouling and fly tipping patrol. 

Five uniformed officers will be on the lookout for anyone falling foul (geddit) of the regulations with on the spot fines for any transgressors caught.

In a statement in the News Shopper. Councillor Craske says that "one of the reasons Bexley is one of the best places to live in the UK is because we take pride in having a clean and tidy community and no-one wants to see it ruined by a small minority".

Councillor Craske, as you can tell, doesn't get out much; or if he does, it isn't within the boundaries of Bexley. The cuts to litter, waste removal and general maintenance which has already been cut to the bone has resulted in Bexley starting to look like something out of Mad Max. Apparently, this is just the start with many more cuts to local services in the pipeline.

That dog mess by the way. Bexley are planning to remove all the dog waste bins they highlight on their own website. I hope you all have deep pockets.

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