Claim of hypocrisy over fig tree tests

FUMING Laman Street figs supporters have accused Newcastle City Council of doing everything possible to prevent the truth about the trees coming out.

They were reacting yesterday to news internationally-recognised arborist Mike Ellison had been refused access to the barricaded trees.

Mr Ellison, who created the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment method used in four of the five consultant reports on the trees, recently sought permission to inspect the trees on December 29.

He wanted to tap the trees with a sounding hammer, scrape loose soil from surface roots, probe the ground with a 6millimetre steel bar and use a microdrill to test for decay.

His request was denied because the proposed inspection would be the equivalent of an independent inspection, which the council voted against.

Lord mayor John Tate, who has fought to save the trees, said yesterday that the refusal highlighted the determination of some within the council to remove the trees.

‘‘If they are very confident about the decisions that have been taken why wouldn’t they just be prepared to have that looked at in a manner that is objective,’’ he said.

Save Our Figs spokeswoman Caity Raschke said the decision to prevent Mr Ellison from accessing the trees wreaked of hypocrisy. ‘‘Why would they deny someone of Mr Ellison’s stature onto the site to conduct a routine inspection,’’ she said.

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