Beech TPO

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TREEspect were recently  asked to mediate  between the owner of a mature beech tree and their neighbours who wanted to carry out works on the tree. Unfortunately due to the neighbours somewhat underhand tactics dialogue had broken down between them. 

The tree is in a conservation area and has a high amenity value and stands proud in a small Cotswold Village. On visiting the tree we spoke with the recently moved in  neighbours who expressed their displeasure at having the inconvenience of having this fine tree over shadowing their property, dropping leaves and acting as host to birds of all things. The neighbour disclosed to us that she had already spoke with a local tree surgeon to carry out reduction works to the tree and they would be submitting an application to the council. Our view was that minimal works would not alleviate any of the issues the neighbour was upset with and a larger reduction would not only be detrimental to the trees future vitality but would also significantly affect the trees visual impact on its surroundings. After speaking with  the neighbour we contacted the local tree officer and submitted a report and a request for them to consider serving a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) in order to afford more protection for the tree and peace of mind for the trees owner. Today we have been informed that a TPO has now been served and the owner and neighbour have been notified. The owner of the Beech is obviously very pleased with the outcome as are we.  

#TREEspect #TreesInNeed


The Sheffield Street Tree fiasco has over the last couple of weeks reached new lows. Despite wide condemnation from professionals ranging from Arboricultural experts and Highways engineers SCC are still ploughing ahead with what amounts to an ecological and environmental catastrophe.  Not only that but they are now  being aided and abetted by what amounts to a platoon of private security guards and South Yorkshire police that are employed on a daily basis to ensure the Arb Contractor can ‘do its job’. What we are seeing now just beggars belief. Pensioners are being forcibly removed and prevented from exercising their right to peaceful protest. They are being arrested only to be released without charge. There have been assaults on disabled women and only yesterday a woman was arrested for ‘disturbing the peace’ with a Vuvuzela for heavens sake. Disturbing the peace? The irony of this was certainly lost on the arresting officer as the chainsaws and chippers raged on! A 73 year old pensioner was arrested for the intimidation of a 20 stone security guard. There have now been a number of protestors who have needed hospital treatment due to injuries sustained  at the hands of security employed to protect the contractors. This clearly cannot go on like this, not only are vast amounts of money being spent for very little work but somebody soon is going to be seriously injured in the process.

The rate at which Sheffield’s trees are being removed however has fortunately been reduced down to 1 or 2 a day due to the commitment and resilience of its residents. This does however come at a financial cost. To fell half a tree over the course of one day last week it took 30 plus police officers, 3 inspectors, 20 plus private  security and all the contractors. Only today there is a report highlighting the plight of our police force and their ability to respond to emergency calls due to budget restraints and falling police numbers yet here we have 30 plus officers attending tree felling sites on a daily basis.

Sheffield council keep wheeling out the same line about this all being part of a tree replacement program yet this in itself  is just a well rehearsed sound bite designed to discredit campaigners and appeal to those residents of Sheffield and observers from further afield. The Tree replacement program is a systematic failure on many levels. Trees age, they decay and get diseased and of course a well managed tree replacement program is required in all our towns and cities to ensure canopy continuity and consequently enable us to benefit from all that a urban tree has to offer. A well managed tree replacement program would identify trees that are nearing the end of their ‘shelf life’ and will be removed and replaced by specimens that will be given every chance to reach maturity. These trees would also be part of a carefully planned ‘staggered’ replacement program to ensure the ecological and environmental benefits are maintained. This would  be enhanced by careful tree species selection and optimum planting conditions and after care. What we are seeing in Sheffield however is the opposite of this. Trees are being planted with complete disregard of British Standards, insufficient tree pits, shoddy plantings will ensure that these replacements will be lucky to survive one or 2 growing seasons let alone go on to reach their potential and become part of the urban landscape and ensuring that they are able to ‘do their job’. As it is it is estimated that 25% of new plantings fail to survive beyond 3 years.

It has now emerged that within the contract it states that up to 17,500 trees can be removed. That amounts to approximately half of the cities tree stock. This is not only unsustainable but utter madness.

This is all being over seen and instigated by a Labour Council. There have been petitions and numerous emails  handed to the office of Jeremy Corbyn requesting he steps in and over sees a mediation with SCC which is Labour after all. The lack of acknowledgement let alone a failure to get involved is very disappointing to say the least. This is a man who throughout his political career has fought for justice, he has campaigned widely on environmental issues and the cause of the under dog but for some unknown reason he is failing to call his own councillors to task over what is an environmental disaster over seen by his own party.

I have been to Sheffield numerous times to assess for myself the decisions being taken for the removal of trees and have spoken to consultants who have also visited to see for themselves what is going on and the view is unequivocally clear that the decisions to remove a large number of these trees is wrong and totally unjustified. Of course there are trees that are reaching the end of their life that need to be replaced but there appears to be serious contradictions in identifying those earmarked for removal. There are trees causing  damage to pavements and kerbs that are being retained yet further down the road there will be a tree causing no damage that is on the removal list. I saw trees that are in poor health that have had a stay of execution yet perfectly healthy trees have already been removed.

2018 sees the Centenary of the end of World War 1 and SCC in their wisdom are going ahead with their decision to fell a number of memorial trees on Western Rd which were planted to commemorate the former pupils of the local school who sadly lost their lives. In some of these cases there is substantial damage to kerbs, pavements and the highway but there are engineering solutions aplenty which would enable work to be carried out whilst at the same time preserving this fine avenue of trees which serve as a memorial for the local community. I do worry that given  the history and the sensitivity surrounding these trees that the campaign to protect them could become more volatile especially when taking the hired security’s previous insensitivity towards campaigners  into question.


The lack of condemnation from organisations within the Arboricultural industry is also cause for concern and bewildering. Yes there have been statements released questioning the felling policy but these have been few and far between and have on the whole been what appears to me to be token gestures.

The Woodland Trust over the past year have supported the campaign to a degree and  have been promoting their ‘Street Trees’ campaign, a fantastic initiative aimed at getting communities to celebrate and fight for the preservation of their urban trees. At the same time however they are failing to publicly question and put pressure on SCC for what amounts to a catastrophic street  tree removal campaign in Sheffield. Yes there have been small statements from the Woodland Trust and the Arb Association (of which one of the contractors in Sheffield is a member)  over the past year but organisations such as these should be hollering from the roof tops and using all their influence to force SCC to re evaluate what they are doing in Sheffield. They should be writing strongly worded statements to people like Corbyn whose council are responsible for an ecological and environmental disaster.  These organisations are in a position where they are listened to and they are failing in their roles as promoters and protectors of our nation’s tree stock to use their influence and expertise to really put pressure on those who can put a stop to this debacle right  here and now and to force those responsible to hold their hands up and admit they have made a huge mistake. They should be calling for a suspension  of the tree felling program and offer  to sit down and talk about how a sustainable tree strategy can be put in place to ensure that this catastrophe can be brought to a halt before the damage done is irreversible.29496906_10216065798148256_7027970354217682826_n



As a child many of us had ‘a family tree’. This  could have been a gnarly old Apple in a grandfathers garden, bed sheets brought out on a summers day and tied to it to provide welcome shelter and shade whilst sitting inside munching on your Nan’s freshly made flap jacks. Or perhaps it could have been a Horse Chestnut which every autumn would provide all the grandchildren with a bounty of conkers to while away the hours in ‘battle’.

We are collecting memories and photographs for a prospective book entitled ‘The family tree’.  What were the games you played underneath and within its boughs. The picnics the family enjoyed under its summer canopy, the joy of picking a ripe apple every autumn. Is the tree still in the family? Are your children now able to engage with the tree as you did? Have you got old family photographs of you as a child with the tree? Are you able to photograph the tree as it is now? Your family tree may not be in a garden but may in fact have been out the front or back of the house or even somewhere else.




“The tree measured our growth too. One by one we all got tall enough to swing up onto its lower branches without a boost. It was the high platform from which the bravest of us would jump and flap our arms in our earnest but futile attempts to fly.”

There’s a reason trees are always used as a metaphor for childhood, and why the trees we grew up with remain embedded in the landscape of our memories. Trees, like children, mark the passage of time.


“When I lived in Yorkshire from age 4 to 11, we had two HUGE ancient oak trees called Adam and Eve. Eve had fallen over countless years earlier and provided wonderful settings for the imagination, becoming a fortress, a ship, a dinosaur or dragon, or anything we wanted. Adam was still standing, and we had a treehouse in it and metal steps on the trunk. Wonderful memories!”

“The tree was our playground. We often climbed up into its sturdy branches where we pretended the afternoon away. Sometimes we imagined the tree was a huge military cargo plane trying to make a landing with only one of its four engines still sputtering. We marvelled how my two brothers managed to bring the plane down safely every time.

Or the tree became our tree house in which we lounged, giggled, and shared secrets.”


Please send your stories (including where the tree is/was) and photographs to We will be posting a selection of memories and photos on our blog and in time hope to collate a selection of them into a book. Please also pass on to friends and family. Thank you.


TREEspect Raffle

Please follow this link to purchase tickets.

Money raised will go to Street Tree Art Sheffield (STARTS) Community Art project (whose exhibition ‘Fallen Boys, Standing Trees is currently on in Sheffield) and TREEspect CIC.

Tickets are £2 each and first ticket drawn will have first choice of prizes, 2nd ticket, second choice and so on. The draw will be made on 28th December and winners will be notified.

All prizes have been Kindly donated by a wonderful group of Artists and Authors. I will be posting links to the Web Sites and On Line shops of the contributors so please follow links when I have posted them.

I would like to thank all the contributors who have Kindly donated work.
Please share this post amongst friends and family, facebook groups and across social media to ensure we can raise funds to raise awareness of and campaign for the protection of our Nation’s trees.


Hedge Ground Karen Howse.
Hedge Ground 56.5x59cm Stitched mixed media by Karen Howse
Emma Tristram
Kindly donated by Emma Tristram





Fallen Oak

PRESS RELEASE from Tree hunter Rob McBride, co-founder & Director of Trespect CIC
———————– EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01hrs 29th Sept. 2017 —————————————-
Tree hunter Rob McBride, co-founder & Director of Trespect CIC has recently discovered that the largest tree on Offas Dyke has significantly collapsed. The massive, eleven metre girth oak tree, which experts say is between 800 to 900 years old, is situated close to the River Severn at Buttington near Welshpool and has now split in two in around May of this year it has been revealed.
The tree, a pollarded oak, is also the second largest oak tree by girth in Wales, and was only discovered in 2009 by an ancient tree hunt recorder after she waded the river to get to it. The Buttington oak’s demise follows on from the toppling over of the Pontfadog Oak in April 2013, an event that shocked many folks from around the world. In February 2010 we saw the ten metre girth, Oak at the Gate of the dead at Castle Mill, near Chirk Castle also split in two. This recent sad event now makes this the third, truly ancient oak tree in Wales to fail in recent years.
“Something must be done now to protect these culturally significant heritage trees before we lose any more”says Mr. McBride. “Simple, low cost solutions could have been found for all of these fallen giants mentioned. Pollarded trees are ones that man has cut and worked for many hundreds of years. They are not if you like, ‘natural trees’ so we have a continued duty to work on these for their lasting protection”.
Mr McBride believes that the Buttington oak should have been properly assessed by a suitable ancient tree expert, and perhaps a reduction to the crown to the west of the tree carried out, a sensible root protection zone set out and even perhaps some form of propping installed to prevent this failure. The area where the tree grows is regularly flooded but this year it experienced a very dry Winter & Spring. The land is farmed for arable crops with animal grazing in other years. The great oak tree featured in Archie Miles’ book Heritage Trees Wales.
On February 23rd 2016 the Brimmon Oak was granted a stay of execution when the Welsh Govt. came down in favour of moving the Newtown bypass over by fifteen metres – at no extra cost in the design stage – respecting professional advice and current British Standards. It seems we can do the right thing when helped in the right direction by concerned communities.
For many years myself and other campaigners have fought to get some form of protection for Wales’ truly ancient trees. Mr. McBride has met with AM’s on many occasions and hopes to soon, meet up with Cabinet Secretary for the Environment & Rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths to discuss a way forward for the future of these important cultural gems of the countryside.
Wales has been proactive in recent years in bringing in forward thinking legislation on the environment & well being. Members of the public and organisations can currently comment on how they feel with regards to the future of Wales’ natural environment. You have until the 30th of September, when the deadline for comments ends, with regards to the Welsh Asembly Govt’s consultation paper, ‘Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources’. (SMNR). Questions 4 & 10 specifically address trees and ancient trees.
Mr. McBride also said “We urgently need what I like to call a ‘soft brush’ protection system. A system that is not too onerous on the tree owner whilst at the same time affording proper protection to the tree. Moreover, correct technical advice and funding options that enable the trees to be managed appropriately” He continues. “It need not cost the earth to provide this system or its outputs. Money maybe tight in recent years, but do we really want to keep losing our amazing shared arboreal heritage for what is essentially, small amounts of funding”?
He understands and appreciates that any system must take into account the many stake holders views, including land owners who are nervous of more onerous bureaucracy but who also feel that they need professional advice and guidance.
To sustain the lives of ancient and other veteran trees, it is vital that the trees and land around them are properly cared for by their owners, and by the arboriculturists and others managing them. Veteran trees present a unique set of management challenges which differ from conventional arboriculture. “I would urge those who own or care for the oldest and most special trees in Wales to seek advice from specialists in veteran tree care” says Rob McBride. “Guidance and training on the management of veteran trees is available from the Ancient Tree Forum, a charity which was set up by some of the most respected tree professionals in the world”.
The recently formed Treespect CIC not-for-profit organisation aims to engage and work with communities in order to enable them to forge closer relationships with their trees.