Tuesday 26 January 2010

Barnet Council - Dishonesty in action !

I am totally disgusted by the latest scheme from Barnet Council to waste your money. There are many aspects of it which disgust me, which we'll discuss, but the worst is the big porkie that it "costs the Barnet Taxpayer nothing".

Barnet Council are planting non native Dawn Redwood trees along the route of the Edgware Road. According to the article in the Hendon Times :-
As the cost of planting and initial maintenance is being covered by the Mayor of London’s funding, users of the Edgware Road will be receiving a real boost to the environment and atmosphere of the street, which is currently overwhelmingly urban, at no cost to the Barnet taxpayer.
I'm sorry to have to explain this to Barnet Council, but the Barnet Taxpayer funds the Mayor of London. Where did they think the money came from? Do they think it grows on (Dawn Redwood) Trees? We are funding this. We are paying. I've no idea who the Tories in Barnet think pays for the Mayor, but we do. The taxpayer.

Now I'm a big supporter of the Environment. I'd love Barnet Council to spend more on improving it, so why don't I like this scheme? Because it is the wrong scheme in the wrong place. I don't think any scheme where Councils plant non native species is ever right. Trees should be planted to provide habitat for native species and should be sited in such a way as to give the maximum environmental benefit. These trees planted along the Edgware Road are only likely to encourage scavenging species such as pigeons, which are a nuisance. Barnet actually say :-

A statement from Barnet Council said: “The primary reason for choosing Dawn Redwoods was because they grow upright, in a tall and thin style, avoiding problems of bird mess dropping on to shop displays or car dealership forecourts, or obscuring them from the view of passing motorists.

Now there are plenty of spaces in Barnet where trees would provide a huge benefit to the local ecosystem. They could provide shelter for rare species, provide shade and improve the environment for all. As Barnet admit for these specimens, all we will see is the bottom of the trunk. How many songbirds will nest? They won't provide acorns or berries as a foodsource for local wildlife. What exactly will they achieve apart from looking nice on glossy brochures? Do you think that if you gave the experts, say the London wildlife trust, the money and said, "devise a scheme that will have the maximum benefit for Barnets wildlife and we'll apply for this money" they would have come up with this scheme?

The trouble with Barnet Council under Conservative Leader Lynne Hillan is quite well demonstrated here. They don't understand who payes taxes, they think they know better than the experts, they waste public money and they deliver no tangible benefit to the people who foot the bill - you and me. I'm just amazed that a supposedly Tory Mayor, Boris Johnson colludes with such scandalous wasting of his cash. Do you think he knows who foots the bill?

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