A recent letter to the Star stated that the Lowcock Report on the felling of 5,474 street trees “revealed the depths of the political corruption with the silence of Labour and Greens reflecting how widely the rot has set in.”
Far from the Greens being silent, the Lowcock Report only came about as it was a key negotiating point in May 2021 when the Greens entered the Council administration for the first time.
The report reveals only two councillors had publicly opposed the £2.2 billion outsourcing since it was first suggested in about 2007. They were the two Green Party councillors on the Council at that time.
During the campaign against the tree felling, Green Party councillors and activists took part in protests, risking arrest, injury and imprisonment.
Sheffield Green Party later supported the grassroots “It’s Our City” campaign, arising from the tree protests. This called for more accountability in the Council’s secretive Cabinet System which enabled just a few Labour Councillors to make all the decisions.
In May 2023 Green councillors forced an emergency meeting of Sheffield City Council to discuss and learn from the failure of strategic leadership exposed in the Lowcock Report.
The Council accepted the report’s recommendations and recognised that the committee system under No Overall Control requires a spirit of open, transparent and democratic ways of working. The council finally issued a public apology in response to the Lowcock report in June 2023.
Councillor Douglas Johnson
Sheffield Green Party
For more details on the Lowcock report and the street tree inquiry see our articles on the council actions after the Lowcock report, the ongoing ignorance and lack of apology from some councillors, and the need for honest and openness in council as the key lessons of this scandal.