10 April 2012

The blind misleading the blind

a lovely tree but not if it is 2m from your 1st floor office window

The above tree is Liquidambar styr. Worplesdon and is also known as The Alligator Tree or the Sweet Gum.


Chipping Barnet ( or High Barnet as it is more commonly known ) is home to Mr Mustard and now also to 26 of these trees. To buy and plant them cost £30,669. It cost yet more to dig the holes. Further details of this amazing project will come later.
DPR1588 Street Trees in Chipping Barnet
Now Mr Mustard is a tree-hugger. He is a member of the Royal Forestry Society ( if you like trees please join here ). Mr Mustard does want trees in the area. However, he wants the right tree in the right place at the right price. Will it surprise you to know that isn't what has happened in the rush to spend Boris's (ours really)  £400k. I do hope that when Boris comes to Chipping Barnet to look at what he got for £400k that Mr Mustard hears about it and can pop out, Dennis Pepper style, for a discussion about how his money was spent.

So each tree cost £1,179 to "install" or plant as we would say it. Now Mr Mustard was expecting a well grown tree for that money and he was a little surprised to find out how tiny, for a tree, they were. Here is a photo of two of them outside the police station. Note the location at the pavement edge.

to you my friend, £1,179 each

So the price hopefully includes the Arboresin slab at the bottom and the tree guard but even after those and the labour cost have been taken into account the amount left for profit is probably too generous. If only one tree was being planted the cost could be understood but once multiplied up 26 times the labour and the transport can be fully utilised over a week, or two at the most, and manual workers don't get paid a fortune.


These trees can grow to be 100 feet tall in the UK and higher in warmer climates. By that time the trunk will be getting rather large and the roots will be spreading and Mr Mustard predicts that these trees will all get to be too large and will disturb the pavement leading to insurance claims by people who trip over and to walls suffering from cracking if they are only a few feet away. 

it won't be many years before the growing tree disrupts the special pavement

What does the DPR say?

In identifying the proposed locations for trees along the High Street, Wood Street and St Albans Junction, due regard has been given to ensuring the footways remain fully accessible.

Is that why there is a row of trees on the western pavement set bang in the middle of the pavement?

How is a blind person meant to navigate down this pathway? They will have to work out what has been put into their path and then if they take the road side they will be closer to the high drop into the roadway.

Should trees that can grow to 100 feet in height really be placed 1.5m from a building ?

Now look at how it can be done. Mr Mustard often goes to Streatham and they have planted some lovely trees which Mr Mustard thinks are a much better choice. 

welcome to Streatham - it looks so European

 Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Just incredible: how on earth have we been charged so much for these clearly immature trees? And in such unsuitable locations. Also I suppose we will be charged an arm and a leg for one of Barnet's non compliant contractors to come along and water the damn things as much as will be necessary in this year of drought: if the space left for watering is large enough.

    By the way, Mr Mustard, why have you gone blue in the face? Understandable in some ways, but there is an election coming, and you are sending out a subliminal message to people to vote Tory, which is not allowed. Please change to a mroe suitable colour.

  2. I see that the trees can be bought as 30L pot size, 3.0 - 3.5m high, which seems to match your photographs, and they are £103.00 each.

    So what did the rest of the money go on?


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