Two Notice of Contraventions have been brandished to council contractors despite council saying they have “no concernts” about felling safety.
The Health and Safety Executive have given Amey and subcontractor Acron the notice after a felled tree landed in a small, private front garden in Myrtle Road, Meersbrook, on 11th August.
A Notice of Contraventions means that a HSE inspector has concluded that a contractor has broken the law. This will result in the contractor will face greater scrutiny and will require direct support from the HSE to rectify any safety problems.
Richard Davis, a health and safety professional and tree campaigner, challenged Councillor Bryan Lodge about the two notices at the Council meeting held on October 4th.
Mr Davis questioned Councillor Lodge if the council were prepared to terminate the contract with Amey after the breach of contract in regards to health and safety. Councillor Lodge did not provide a response.
Mr Davis said: “Judging by Councillor Lodge’s lack of response, he clearly doesn’t understand the gravity of the HSE enforcement action. The law has been broken. It is not a trivial matter where public safety is concerned. Have Amey even told the Council that these contravention notices have been issued?”
He continued: “To claim the HSE have no concerns is ridiculous. This is like OFSTED putting a school into ‘Special Measures’ and outside help being needed to put things right.
“Not only does it mean that Amey must be more careful in future, and face a big bill for the expert advice they receive, but if there are any more incidents like this, the consequences could be very serious indeed.
“Apart from prosecution, it could allow Sheffield City Council to cancel the contract.”
Rebecca Hammond, co-chair of Sheffield Trees Action Group, said: “We are not surprised by this. The tree was close to the home of two very well known campaign supporters and the contractors seemed very keen to fell trees on that street.
“Is it possible that desperation to press on has led them to cut corners on our residential streets? I just hope we’ll not see a really serious incident before this sorry mess is over.”
The council has been approached for comment.