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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A number of years ago, there was a thorough, in-depth asbestos survey of the ‘entire’ Ferry Lane Estate. After extensive searches, (comprising numerous test drilling’s into the soil - even including residents’ gardens - surveyors were more than satisfied to consider the estate safe, as any findings were tiny fibres and were buried; laying undisturbed in the soil, where they have been for many years.  

Recently, as a result of nearby track works along Jarrow Rd, N17, (where surveyors found a tiny amount of asbestos), the Ferry Lane Primary School was alerted, and was surveyed soon after. Surveyors found a single fibre of asbestos deep in the school’s ‘green area’, which was always covered in grass and blessed with numerous mature trees, which provided a pretty canopy during light showers.

As a result of that single fibre scare, eleven mature trees have been recently chopped down in the school’s grounds. I see the remainder as possibly now threatened too. After all, following the removal of 11, the Council’s tree department, or the school, may not give much importance to the killing off of a few more.

The school, once lush and with plentiful tree canopies is now, 70% barren.  This, at a time when the Amazon is under threat and Climate Change causes fires, destroying ancient woodlands in Europe, (obviously human negligence and purposeful acts play their part too). All this, in addition to the HS2 local destruction - opposite the school grounds, where 270 mature trees were chopped down a few years ago. Believe me, I’m still lamenting that loss.

I am immensely disappointed that Haringey and the school, (without any consultation or consideration for residents, whose homes back directly onto the school and over 2000 residents overall on Ferry Lane Estate), we’re kept ‘entirely’ in the dark, despite having a thriving Residents Group, (the Ferry Lane Action Group, FLAG).Residents do have a right to know about such things. Trees directly impact anyone living nearby - such as: trees are considered as a ‘noise barrier’, (they help to filter out loud playground noise, as after all kids need to play; ‘bird song’ and ‘nesting’, now reduced in the area and, of course, a matter of ‘light’’. Some residents prefer a shaded garden, especially as the closest gardens all face South! Eleven mature trees destroyed and ..... was sealing the asbestos fibre in even a consideration? I’ve heard that sealing can be very effective and, it was a single fibre that was found.

While works were going on, a visual barrier was put up around the whole playground site - thus concealing the carnage going on within.  Residents had no idea about it. They heard the noise, but didn’t understand the full extent - not until one resident, (closely resembling myself), snuck in, through the barrier to take a peek, while the gate was opened for a vehicle.

What was seen, brought tears to the eyes. Beautiful, majestic trees laying on their sides. 

I’m keeping a close eye, to help ensure the remainder of the trees aren’t unnecessarily felled.

It goes without saying that humans are seen as being far more important than trees, (while it needs to be said that there are a number of beliefs that consider every living thing as an equal). Surely, humans aren’t doing such a great job at caretaker’ing the planet. But, whatever side of the argument we’re on, we have a moral duty, (as far as I see it anyhow), to preserve the natural world, and explore alternatives, while ensuring our health, before sacrificing precious habitat.


- more photos to follow -

Tags for Forum Posts: Ferry, Hale, Lane, N17, Primary, School, Tottenham, felled, trees

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We are told that Trees are Our Lungs. Yet the Council seem to remove them

Rather like the ones in and around Noel Park School.                                                                                    Which gets plenty of passing traffic including Lorry's Servicing the High Road.                                                Last year they was heavily Scapled

My understanding the Council does Not have a Tree Section. Used contractors these days

Hopefully the Estate will be able to get replacement trees . Once the work is completed 

Of course the Council has a tree section!  And I feel very strongly that these professional people's decisions around when trees need to be removed are much maligned.  I don't think anyone rushes to cut down a mature tree if it isn't necessary.  I speak as someone who had a tree fall into my garden from Railway Fields and was told they deliberately leave older trees, even if they are failing to encourage biodiversity, which I am perfectly happy to accept even if a falling tree did destroy my shed and some of my own trees.  Asbestos is extremely dangerous and their hands were probably tied on the subject.  There is no point consulting with residents if there is no choice but to do the work anyway. 

I respect your view, but disagree with it.

Trees are often removed, even when healthy. I have worked as an environmentalist for many years and have seen many things.  

In terms of the asbestos, I’ll say no more, apart from, I don’t agree with you in part.

On what evidence are you stating "trees are often removed, even when healthy"?  I have had many dealings with Alex Fraser and his team, and whenever I have discussed removal of any trees, there has always been a good reason for their removal.

These types of discussion often lead to arguments. I’m truly not in the mood to argue.

have a nice day.

I’ve had dealings with arboricultural services at Haringey and also work directly with an arb services team in another authority and have never felt that either removed a tree unless they had to

I appreciate your reply.

Hi Bob

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, Haringey does have a tree department, the head of the department is Alex Fraser.

They, to the best of my knowledge, have only one or two tree workers. If only they would employ more, they could better control the quality of work.

Sorry to hear about Noel Park. I grew up there, in Vincent Rd.

PS: you’re right, trees are indeed our lungs, but mankind won’t be content until they’re gone. Very sad.

Might have a Section head and a couple of inspectors

But All the Tree work I have seen around Borough is carried out by Contractors

Living and working in Borough I always look out for what's going on in the Borough

Many years ago when Park Keeper at Finsbury Park. Used to have several Tree Gangs based at Park

But sure they soon went after Council lost Park Keepers

Read a report that many Trees was being removed or heavily cut down to save annual service Costs

Also aware that many old and large trees have to be removed, often as damaging pavements/ road and properties

So much for Trees being the Lungs of the Nation

I wholeheartedly agree with you and respect your views. 

Chopping down 11 lovely mature trees just because a single asbestos fibre, which had probably lain buried and undisturbed for donkey's years, was found is ridiculous. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral rock so could in theory be found anywhere and shouldn't be taken as evidence of industrial site contamination, etc.

I collected rocks & minerals as a child and had a beautiful lump of asbestos rock in my collection - I've no idea where it is now (this was before we all became aware of the dangers of asbestos). 

Thank you for your reply, Andy. 

I’m still hugely lamenting the loss.  The thing is, every one tells us that asbestos is deadly, and I’m not knowledgable enough to argue with them. But ... a single fibre??? It sounds to me like both school and Haringey massively over-reacted, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Sadly there’s very little info on the internet, which covers how to make buried asbestos safe. Though, isn’t it safe by the very fact that it was buried and would have remained so, (I don’t know), but I believe alternatives should have been looked into.  The school’s/Haringey’s concern, was that the tree roots might bring more to the surface.  

Still ... all said ... it’s a great loss, at a time when we are losing so much biodiversity.




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