Sheffield Green Party Councillors will be calling for urgent action on protecting Sheffield’s urban forest at the Full Council debate on street trees this week. The debate has been sparked by some 10,000 plus signatures to the Save Our Rustlings Trees (SORT) petition campaign.
The Green Party Councillors will demand that the public be allowed to see the contract with Amey, the contractor responsible for the Streets Ahead Work Programme.
Campaigners and tree experts argue that healthy trees are being removed unnecessarily from Sheffield’s streets as part of the Streets Ahead Programme. Full details of the contract between Sheffield City Council and Amey have not been made available. This is making it impossible for Councillors, campaigners and the general public to work out where responsibility lies.
“It’s one of the many issues with these big contracts – we don’t know who is at fault.
“There’s clearly a quality control problem when healthy trees are being removed rather than using sensitive engineering solutions.
“Taking out healthy mature trees impacts on wildlife, air quality and resistance to flooding, as well as our general well-being ”.
SORT is calling for a review of the criteria for felling mature street trees, asking for a strict preference for “sensitive engineering solutions”. This includes issues such as root growth underneath sloped pavements.
Councillor Smalley added:
“It’s appalling that there has been no consultation with residents, experts or other groups about the tree strategy in Sheffield. There’s clearly no overall plan from all the Council Departments and Amey.
“It’s our job to represent the public, how can this happen when there’s no two-way communication?”
Looking ahead, Sheffield Green Party Councillors will be calling for a Sheffield Trees and Woodland Strategy. Despite a stated ambition to be the greenest city in Europe, Sheffield City Council has no such strategy and appears to have shelved a consultation document on the subject well over a decade ago.
For further information contact Cllr SJ Smalley at firstname.lastname@example.org
The questions raised by Green Party Councillors to the 1st July Full Council Meeting are:
1. Issues have been raised by residents regarding the details of the Amey Streets Ahead Contract in relation to street trees and how decisions are made regarding removal and replacement. Whilst understanding that some parts of the contract will be commercially sensitive, can the Cabinet Member make the details of those parts of the contracts related to the removal and replacement of street trees publicly available in order to clarify this situation, even if in a redacted form?
2. With other core cities having adopted a Tree Strategy, and bearing in mind Sheffield’s status as the greenest city in the UK, does the Cabinet Member plan to introduce a similar strategy for our trees and woodlands?
3. It has been repeatedly stated that the Streets Ahead contract calls for “notification” not “consultation” with residents. Does the Cabinet Member think that this goes far enough?
4. Could the Cabinet Member give us an idea of what the impact of a Moratorium on the removal of street trees would have, both on the progress of the Streets Ahead works programme in general and in terms of the financial implications?