Do the trees and planters create a safer environment in Lower Street Pulborough?

Do the trees and planters create a safer environment in Lower Street Pulborough?

6 March 2022
Petition to
West Sussex Highways.
Signatures: 17Next Goal: 25
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Why this petition matters

Started by Gavin Barclay

The proposed positioning of 7 trees and planters in various positions on the pavements of Lower Street, Pulborough has caused much debate and has resulted in the proposer putting together a petition for those in favour. Whilst I have no objection to this I believe it only fair to have a petition for those who object, primarily on the grounds of health and safety for the visually and physically impaired. There may be other reasons that people object to like the cost or lack of consultation, this of course will be up to each individual to decide. So if you do not agree with them being positioned on the pavements of Lower Street then please sign this petition.

The Pulborough Community Partnership have been asked, on more than one occasion, if there has been a health and safety risk assessment carried out to ensure that these trees and planters will not be a danger to the visually and physically impaired. There has been no answer forthcoming.

They state that this grant money could not be used for any other purpose, this is not strictly correct. The grant is for the purposes of the loosely worded Government scheme for “re-wilding” and could be used in a number of different ways to benefit Lower Street. The Pulborough Community Partnership should have consulted with the people of Pulborough, as per their own Memorandum and Articles of Association, to decide how best to utilise this fund.

The petition “for” puts forward a number of claims as to how these trees will benefit the community, most notably reduce the traffic speed through Lower Street. Listed below are these claims with further information relating to their origins. Please judge for yourselves.

Slowing traffic and reducing road rage.  This is from a 2006 study by the State of Michigan who reported that using trees to line roadways brought down average speed by 7-8 mph. This is supposed to help produce the perception of the road being narrower and therefore reducing speeds. Road rage would be diminished in green urban areas. The seven isolated trees in planters on pavements are hardly going to have this affect.

Reducing toxic air mortality.This is based on studies that show that a barrier created from street trees, along with lower level planting can more than halve the levels of pollutants behind the barrier, protecting school playgrounds and other areas of open space where the public congregate. This hardly seems relevant as the trees and planters hardly constitute a barrier.

Improving mental health.Again the studies refer to tree lined streets and not isolated planters.

Encouraging biodiversity and wildlife.The studies showed that tree lined streets provide wildlife corridors for birds or insects to travel. Not sure that these planters qualify on that count either.

Reducing crime.A 2015 study found that for every 10% increase in tree canopy cover, there was a 15% decrease in violent crime and a 14% decrease in property crime. Will these trees provide the level of canopy cover to achieve this?

Increasing neighbourhood vigilance.Green spaces attract people for recreation leading to more “eyes on the street”, which in turn provides actual surveillance. The pavements are not a green space environment.

Increasing work productivity.University of Michigan found that desk workers who can see nature take 23% less time off sick. Most workers who will be able to see these trees will probably already be able to see nature on the opposite side of the street.

Increasing health recovery rates.This refers to hospital patients with views of trees having been found to recover significantly faster than those who cannot see any natural features. Not sure this is relevant as they cannot be seen by hospital patients.

Insulation, shading and temperature regulation.Trees provide shelter and reduce wind speed, reducing heat loss from buildings during winter. They provide shade in the summer and evapotranspiration of water from the leaves has a cooling effect on the surrounding air. This significantly reduces energy use and costs for a/c in hot weather.  This is some claim, with no study to support it, for these trees to be able to do. Most of which will be in the shade for the vast majority of the day anyway.

To try and justify these trees and planters with these claims, a lot of which are based on American findings, whilst avoiding the most important issue of health and safety , seems totally wrong and not good use of £3,771.

If you agree then please sign this petition .

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Signatures: 17Next Goal: 25
Support now