Trees v Cameras - the rematch

The last time we asked the Brockley Central public which they preferrred, trees or cameras, trees came out on top. But it got pretty nasty.

Undaunted, Cllr Dean Walton has asked us to broach the subject with you again. However, this time, for an altogether different reason:

Following a number of complaints about the failure to repair a security camera at the junction of Breakspears Road and Lewisham Way, Dean investigated the issue with the Council officers and found that the problem was the nearby trees...

The CCTV camera situated at the Breakspears Road junction with Lewisham Way is a microwave camera. At the present time the camera is not switched on as there are problems with a break of signal between the camera, the CCTV control room and other cameras within the vicinity. If we turn this camera on, it interferes with other camera signals in the area and causes them to fail.

An investigation took place to find out what the cause of the break in signal is, and the engineer reported back that trees around the camera are to blame. As this is a preservation area, the Lewisham tree officer had to apply for planning permission before any work on the trees could take place. It took six weeks for the permission to come through and this has only been granted within the last few days.

To add to this, one of these trees is a lime tree located in the Lewisham College car park in Tressilian Road. The CCTV Operations Manager is currently liaising with Lewisham College to gain permission to order the tree in question to be felled. (If it's only trimmed the problem will return.) They have agreed in principle but wish the tree officer to meet a representative on site to agree the date of the work (not during term time) and to give them a copy of the planning permission. It is envisaged that once the lime tree has gone and other surrounding trees have been trimmed, the engineer will be able to get this camera fully functional again.

Dean wants to know our views, urgently, before any lumber-jacks move in.

In Brockley Central's view, the loss of trees on the street would be unacceptable, regardless of the security implications. If the spot that camera covers is so important from a security point of view, then find another solution that doesn't involve the loss of trees. But CCTV cameras are of limited crime-fighting value anyway and if alternative solutions are too costly (more costly than felling trees?) then we'd happily live with a CCTV blackspot there. If we sacrifice the quality of our local environment, we automatically become victims of crime and we risk degrading the local area, which encourages further crime. We'd ask Lewisham Council to immediately cancel their plans to cut down the trees.

But what's your view? Which is better - trees or cameras? There's only one way to find out! Fight!