Friday, 18 September 2009

Vandalism of the Green

One of many new trees in Plas Crug, Aberystwyth, snapped off by vandals

Ceredigion County Council does a fairly good job of keeping Plas Crug in Aberystwyth nice and green, and the new trees they planted in May/June were really appreciated. At least by normal people.

However it was disheartening on 13th June to see that yet more of them have been snapped in half by vandals. This is not the first time it had happened, since it has been common for new trees planted there to be damaged in this way.

There are c. 10 trees damaged in this way near the centre of Plas Crug

Obviously it would be a shame for the council to give up on planting new trees, because more trees would be fantastic. On the other hand the scum who regularly vandalise them in this way could ruin things for all the people who enjoy the green breathing space Plas Crug represents.

CIN contacted Highways, Properties and Works department of Ceredigion County Council in June to ask if it would be possible to have a hidden camera filming the location next time some trees are planted there, possibly working in connection with the police. If the vandal(s) were caught and prosecuted then they would be unlikely to do it again, and it would be a deterrent to others. At present the vandals seem to think (if they are capable of thinking at all) that they can act with impunity and keep mindlessly damaging/killing the young trees, so it would be good if they could be caught. The reply from Mel Hopkins, the Chief Building Maintenance Officer was:

I refer to your e-mail dated 15 June 2009 regarding the continued vandalism to newly planted trees to Plascrug Avenue, Aberystwyth. Unfortunately, for cost reasons it is impracticable to install CCT cameras along the Avenue as a deterrent to vandalism. The Council does work closely with the local constabulary with regard to detection and apprehension of vandals but forthe more remote secluded areas we have to rely on reports to the Police and witness statements. The Council intends (future funding permitting) to continue the current tree planting works in season throughout the County to maintain and enhance the existing tree cover to the Council's amenity open space areas.
Unfortunately this is unlikely to be enough to counter the vandals. It should be noted that the cost of raising a sapling for a number of years until it is large enough to plant in a part is significant, and it would be good if more could be done to make it difficult for vandals to destroy the trees in this way.

(CIN also hopes that the trees raised for Plas Crug are grown in Wales. It has been widely publicised that for the monstrous blot on the landscape that is the new Welsh Assembly Government building in Aberystwyth, trees were imported from Germany at a cost of £1,500 each, rather than use Welsh trees. So much for 'sourcing goods from Wales' or 'being concerned about the environment'... Another example of hypocrisy from WAG. (Update 21 Sept 09: the Complaints Administrator for the WAG 'Department of the First Minister and Cabinet' replied to our email on this, saying: "Trees and other materials for the Welsh Assembly Government building at Aberystwyth have been sourced in line with European Union procurement regulations" and telling us to see this link for more information - the same link we had already included above! It should be noted that sourcing goods via Euopean Union guidelines is irrelevant - it doesn't stop WAG from unnecessarily importing things from Europe instead of supporting Wales, or harming the environment by wastefully transporting goods around the world. They are still crap.)

Well, that's enough space devoted to anonymous thuggery for a while - but what about corporate vandalism?

CK Supermarkets have taken over the Co-op Supermarket in Waunfawr, Aberystwyth. Obviously they would like to make a splash. However the shock to locals when they saw that CKs had chopped all the bushes and vegetation down along the side of the supermarket was probably not what they hoped for.

Where are all the bushes? Ask CKs.

Oh, they've gone from the other side too. No cover for small birds or wildlife anymore.

We were going to complain to CKs but their website is rather out of date - no email address anywhere (and the most recent item under 'CK's News' is from 2006!) They must be as averse to customer comment as they are to bushes.

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