My activities fall into two categories; saving trees and promoting trees.

Saving Trees

Trees in our area are felled or severely cut back for many reasons.  Trees felled as a result of new development or in response to subsidence create much publicity and distress, but these actually account for a small portion of tree felling in the area.  By far the largest cause of tree felling is the decision of the private householder.  Common reasons are the creation of more light and space, avoidance of leaf fall, fear of storm damage, erection of a new shed or extension and provision of front garden parking space.

As most of the Association’s territory lies within a Conservation Area, most tree work requires Council approval.  However, in practice, the Council is only able to withhold approval if a tree either has or merits a TPO (Tree Preservation Order).  A large part of my activity involves monitoring requests for tree work, inspecting threatened trees and then trying to persuade the Council to reject the proposed tree work.  I’ve been successful in saving up to 5 trees, but that’s only a small portion of the tree work requests.

More recently, I’ve taken a look at the system for granting TPOs.  For a number of reasons, the Council appears to be less willing and able to grant TPOs than in the past.  I’ve now started discussion with the Council’s Tree Department about updating the TPO process so that more trees get TPO status.

There’s very little new development in our area and in the few cases where a developer wants to fell trees, planning permission can be granted requiring the planting of new trees and the protection of existing trees.

As regards subsidence, insurance companies are keen to “reach for the chain saw” so as to avoid or delay engineering solutions.  This is a controversial area as although trees are often implicated in subsidence, climate change and drought are also significant causes.  Further, felling a tree can aggravate the problem, whilst it may be possible to minimise future damage by regular pollarding of trees, rather than felling.  This is why the Council has an active programme of regular pollarding of our street trees.  There is a growing local campaign to stop pollarding of street trees, but this will only lead to more damage to our homes and the eventual loss of the trees in any case.

Promoting Trees

I have undertaken three activities to promote new tree planting; identifying opportunities to plant trees in our streets, working with Thames Water to plan trees at the Fortis Green Reservoir site, and publicising the Council’s own plant a tree scheme.

Unfortunately, the Council’s priority for tree planting is the Eastern end of Haringey.  Plans to plant street trees in our areas have been delayed by Covid and budgetary constraints.  Although I’ve identified some opportunities, the Council has not responded to my suggestions, not take up my offer to work with them to identify new opportunities.

I’ve been more successful working with Thames Water.  Last Autumn the Reservoir and Pump Station sites were surveyed.  A certain amount of remedial and engineering work is needed before any tree planting can commence, but I’m hopeful that trees will be planted in the 2022-23 planting season.

Local Woods

We are fortunate in having extensive woodlands in our midst; Coldfall Wood, Queens Wood and Parkland Walk.  These areas are Council-owned and managed but have generally been neglected for many years. Although there are Friends Groups, these are not adequately consulted and there are considerable differences between the Council and the Friends Groups.  Sometimes it’s a matter of poor communication, but at other times preservation of the woodlands appears to have a low priority. I hope to bet more involved in these matters in the coming years.

Jonathan Popper
trees@mhfga.org

The Muswell Hill & Fortis Green Association needs a new Transport Officer to join the Committee.

The brief is to cover all aspects of transport and traffic that are likely to impact upon our area and community.

This not only includes issues in our Wards and Haringey, but also in our neighbouring Boroughs of Enfield and Barnet.

The Transport Officer will need to monitor and report on developments affecting roads and public transport, bus routes and bus lanes, cycle lanes, safer neighbourhood schemes, Low Emission Zones, parking and electric charging points.

If you are interested or know someone who may be interested, please contact John Hajdu, Chairman, at chairman@mhfga.org.

Have your say in the consultation

Haringey Council has begun a consultation process on plans to encourage walking, cycling and to discourage car use in the borough. This may include the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the future, though none are currently planned for Muswell Hill.

Copies of the proposals can be seen at Muswell Hill and Alexandra Park Libraries, and there are two online public meetings. The first was on Wednesday 15th December 2021 and the second is scheduled for Thursday 6th January 2022 between 6-8pm.

For more details and to register your interest in the meetings go to https://haringeywalkingcycling.commonplace.is/

The consultation period ends on 10th January 2022. 

There are currently three consultations concerning proposed Controlled Parking Zones (‘CPZs’) in our area. They are:

  1. Alexandra Palace West concerning approximately the area to the North of Alexandra Palace, bounded by Muswell Hill Broadway in the West, the railway line to the North of Alexandra Park Station to the East, and Alexandra Park Road / Albert Road / Durnsford Road to the North.
  2. Muswell Hill South concerning the area North of Wood Vale / Queenswood Road / Cranley Gardens, East of Muswell Hill Road and South of Muswell Hill Broadway
  3. Muswell Hill West CPZ – concerning the possible inclusion of Tetherdown, Burlington Road and Eastwood Road.

Details, including plans of the areas the subject of the consultations, parking charges and the consultation questionnaire can be viewed at www.haringey.gov.uk/current-parking-consultations

The deadlines for making comments are:

  1. Alexandra Place West – 10th January 2022
  2. Muswell Hill South – 21st January 2022
  3. Muswell Hill West CPZ – 10th January 2022

If you wish to comment on the proposals you must do so by the appropriate date.

Due to the current membership secretary moving out of our area we are looking for a replacement.

The role requires numeracy and computer skills, good verbal and written communication, and good administrative skills.

Responsibilities

  • Act as first point of contact for new and existing members.
  • Maintain and update the membership database and records
  • Process new membership applications
  • Process existing membership renewals
  • Liaise with the Treasurer on financial aspects of membership
  • Support the Newsletter distribution
  • Attend and report to Committee meetings

Interested? Please contact MHFGA Chairman, John Hajdu, hajdu.clarion@talk21.com