Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tuesday 1st September 09

Another good day, no timed things to do, kept busy.

One of the main things was that our friends round the corner were due to have their big conifer tree taken down, and they had invited me round to ask the contractor if he would like to offload the logs my way.

So, quite early, we saw the chap up a ladder cutting side branches off with loppers and a bow saw, and then cutting the tops off the tree with a chainsaw, on the top of the unsecured ladder about 10 metres off the ground, without a harness or any other safety equipment. I was astounded as tree felling is a dangerous job, and I wondered if he should have had to put on a harness or whether it is a choice. I went round to see the neighbours and they too had wondered why the tree-feller wasn't wearing a harness.

I spoke to the chap, not about his safety, but about whether he could let me have his waste materials. He told me that he sold logs and that the tree he was taking down would give him £50 worth of logs. I was happy to hear that, as I'm always happy to hear of businesses connected to renewables. I wished him well and came home.

I decided to ring the council to find out if he should be using safety equipment, and they put me in touch with the Health and Safety Executive, who took my details and basic details about the tree feller/tree fella, and asked me to email them with any photos, the address he was working at, etc.

An hour later, I was building a logpile next to the front door and the chap arrived, saying he was happy for me to have 'as many logs as I wanted'. I protested, saying that I was happy for him to take them and sell them on... he almost insisted that I take the wheelbarrow round and pick up a few lengths. What a dilemma! I had almost shopped this guy, and he turned out to be very friendly and generous. What to do? I had a chat with the neighbours and they were initially upset I'd had a conversation with the authorities, and we had a long talk about the wider effects of dangerous behaviour. The guy had his young son working with him, and my argument was that the father was risking his livelihood and even his life, and at worst, his son could lose his dad. I felt very uncomfortable with the situation, and only took two lengths of tree trunk, and didn't go back.

I decided to not email the HSE with the photos my youngest had taken, nor inform them of the chap's details, as I thought it very likely that he would work out who had 'grassed him up' and could come round and be less than friendly. But I still feel that he ought to have taken more care, not just for his own sake but for his family and the wider community.

Later, whilst I was doing more woody things, there was a huge thunderstorm and I came in. I only went back out later after dark to do a bit more wasp-nest management.

Lots of York Green Festival email traffic today, also putting up posters, and some Fiddlesticks stuff too. Also chopped up a half dozen mangoes to dry them. One of my favourite dried fruits.

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