The questions from STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups):
- Do you support an independent inquiry into handling of the Streets Ahead contract by the council, Amey and South Yorkshire Police, particularly in relation to the tree felling programme?
- Do you support the call for the “straight kerb specification” in the Streets Ahead contract to be permanently relaxed, so that healthy trees are not felled for minor kerb deviation?
- Do you agree the Streets Ahead PFI contract is bad value and poorly accountable to the citizens of Sheffield?
- Would you support the PFI contract being brought back in house (especially now Ferrovial are having a “fire sale” of Amey PLC and being advised by the ‘expert’ appointed to save Carillon from their inevitable implosion)?
Response from the Election Agent for all Sheffield Green Party candidates in the council elections.
The answers from all candidates are yes, yes, yes, yes. I hope members of STAG recognise a long term commitment by Sheffield Green Party in support of the preservation of healthy street trees. Many of those who put in the hours on the streets to protect trees are Green Party members. When there has been a need, a number of Green Party members have been prepared to take whatever peaceful action is required. That includes a number who have been arrested including Cllr Alison Teal.
The year since tree felling was paused has seen some excellent investigative journalism from The Yorkshire Post to make public the unacceptable actions of the council, Amey and the police. We are also now seeing that affordable engineering solutions are available for the majority of threatened street trees. This all underlines what everyone in the campaign has known throughout – you have right on your side.
Although actions have taken a turn towards the positive in the past year there has been no apology from the council for their orchestrated actions in response to your campaign. With no agreed solutions there is a need for continued vigilance which I know STAG members recognise as they continue their on-street work to monitor Amey’s actions.
There has been no real change in the democratic deficit in the city. Just 9 members of the Cabinet continue to make all the decisions and they appear unwilling to engage meaningfully with opposition councillors, community groups and the general public. That’s why The People’s Petition is so important and we would encourage all STAG members to sign it. The ending of PFI has been long overdue but those contracts have done so much damage and cost the taxpayer so much money for massive private profit. That damage will continue for many years to come until those contracts expire – Sheffield will be paying for the Amey contract until 2057.
Street trees bring us visual pleasure and are also so important as the green lungs in our local communities. We are in a climate emergency and cities must not be just be big slabs of concrete. Green candidates pledge continued support for the STAG campaign and the preservation of healthy street trees.