Thanks to a political decision to privatise Hackney's only remaining public tree gang, today one of the most experienced tree surgeon's in London leaves the council. Tree Gang Mark – even if I knew his surname I wouldn't print it in respect for the privacy of a quiet, unassuming family man, - leaves today after over 30 years caring for trees in North London (nearly 20 years in Hackney). That kind of experience and commitment is irreplaceable but Mark and his team have been discarded by a Council bent on revenge. Not satisfied with axing the already skeleton tree gang John Wade and his masters have been determined to force out their own tree officer and his assistant. In total around 60 years of knowledge and expertise in Hackney trees is being discarded under the guise of cuts and efficiency.
Contractors we are told will be cheaper and more efficient. Contractors like those who planted 4000 trees in Hackney this year, around 2,500 are dead already. The detail of that stupidity clouds the real story. Those who have given the best years of their lives to improving trees in the borough, men who literally risk their lives and manage the risk to ours, are cast-off by a regime whoseobsession with power and control appears to know no limit.
I believe John Wade was encouraged to 'clear-out' Hackney Parks' Tree Team because of their close partnership with park user groups and Tree Musketeers. In true Ideology of Ignorance fashion, rather than address a problem – i.e. poor management of parks and repeated public complaints - Pipe's Mandleson (aka Jonathan McShane) has charted a course out of choppy popular engagement and into the safety of barricaded security. Hidden behind their armour Pipe's men hope to sit out the storm and hope people will not notice the dying trees.
Well will you? Write to Pipe and send a photo of your nearest dying tree (Main Marsh eastern fringe,Clissold Park, Main Marsh car park) - I'm sure you can find others. Better still do something useful like weed an orchard tree (Spring Hill, Millfields South, Daubeney Green, Hackney Downs) or water a new street tree.
And remember Mark and Dean and Freddy and Steve and Ian.
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