It’s widely agreed that air pollution is a grave risk to health, and that trees are a natural and free means of reducing its effects, as the foliage absorbs a great deal of the lung-rotting stuff. So it stands to reason that street trees should be valued and protected, especially in traffic-choked parts of big cities, like West London, where I happen to live.
Instead, some oafs in charge of street trees at our local Council last week arranged for the beautiful mature trees in my road to be brutally pruned and stripped bare after they had come into abundant fresh leaf. I tried physically to protect the tree outside my house, but failed.
Pruning and pollarding should be done in winter when the tree is dormant and the necessary work doesn’t affect it. By the same token to do it when it is putting all its vitality and energy into producing its brand-new foliage is sheer madness. The result can be seen in my road where all we have now are tree skeletons, with a few pathetic leaves hanging from the odd broken branch, hardly able to survive, let alone cleanse the air for us. As a council tax payer I felt I had the right to object to this barbarism, so I wrote to Ruth Cadbury, our MP who is also involved in local matters, asking her to help find and discipline the ignorant council official responsible for the serious damage.
She promptly replied, expounding in great detail her thoughts about Brexit.
So I wrote to her again, pointing out that I hadn’t contacted her about Brexit but about our street trees. “It shakes my confidence to note,” I added, “that you didn’t read my email before replying to it.” Hard to believe, but the same thing happened again: me writing to her about trees, she replying about Brexit. “Would you please ask your secretary,” I wrote, my blood pressure rising at speed, “to READ messages instead of automatically sending out the wrong answer? I expect a reply to my reasonable complaint.”
I’m still waiting. Looks like a long wait. It allows me to contemplate this alarming pattern of incompetence at the highest level, where our local and national decision-makers dwell, in Olympian isolation from us ordinary folk, ignoring our needs, not even bothering to read our messages; we are only allowed to foot the bills.
If Brexit didn’t exist – oh delicious fantasy – what excuse would our officials have for not doing their work properly?
I’m just wondering.