Sheffield Street Trees News Update
Thursday 17th November 2016
Sheffield Street Tree Removal this morning by Amey, Richard Pethen
Following the tree felling on Rustling's Road last month, we are making proposals to SCC about positive steps they could take to improve the decision-making process around felling, especially with regard to the ITP's recommendations.
News 13th December 2016
We are making proposals to SCC and Councillor Lodge this week about positive steps they could take to improve the decision-making process around street trees. At a meeting next week, we will be asking them to improve the way that the Independent Tree Panel's advice is reviewed, and to support local communities to find workable alternatives to felling where this is possible.
We have been listening to many of the stakeholders involved, including our members, and we hope these recommendations can be a positive move forward for everyone.
Our letter to Councillor Lodge can be downloaded at the bottom of this page and more information on our street trees position can be found here.
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News 17th November 2016
Following the Council’s sudden decision yesterday (which we understand was published this morning) and immediate action to fell 7 out of 8 mature trees on Rustlings Road, we would call in to question the purpose of the Independent Tree Panel.
The Panel has taken time and effort to carry out thoughtful and objective reviews of key street trees in the city, in response to local people’s request, and then advise the Council accordingly. And yet this advice has had no effect on the Council’s action.
The standard response to every suggestion put to the Council by the ITP is:
After a review of the costs of building engineering solutions to retain trees that involve changes to the highway on a number of sample tree situations the cost of applying similar bespoke engineering solutions which are outside the Streets Ahead contract, across the rest of the highway network is estimated to be of the order of £14-26 million. The Council does not have such additional funding available and many solutions would also be of a short term nature.
There is no arboricultural need to remove and replace this tree.
Despite the ITP stating the following:
The tree opposite number 25 is in good condition with good life expectancy. There is no arboricultural need to remove and replace this tree. The tree is causing some disruption to the pavement. It is not causing disruption to the kerb. We believe this could be resolved with engineering solutions, including 3, minor ramping and re-profiling the footway, and 12, the installation of a tree pit, which would extend slightly into the pavement, which would still be amply wide enough for pedestrians. We therefore advise the Council to consider this.
this tree has now been felled.
At Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, we fully recognise the need to manage trees across the city and implement an ongoing plan of renewal and replacement – over a period of years. We fully recognise that Amey and the Council are dealing with a major backlog of poor street tree maintenance.
However, we strongly question the approaches being used: to set up a tree forum and abandon it, to set up an independent tree panel and then disregard their advice, to hold back the publication of letters from the ITP, to start towing away cars, knocking on doors and felling trees, with a police presence, in the early hours of the morning – surely there has to be a more constructive approach?
News 10th November 2016
Further results have been released by the Independent Tree Panel. Full details can be found here
It lists streets that been referred and also further results from the Panel's view on trees that were referred to them. In the vast majority of cases, the panel agree with the original decision to fell. There have been a small number of cases of confusion over which tree was scheduled to be felled - this is worrying. Streets Ahead say a final check is always made before felling.
Also this week, two campaigners from STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Group) were arrested for trying to prevent the felling of a tree that had not been referred to the Independent Tree Panel. The two individuals have now been charged under trade union legislation. See STAG for further details http://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk/
News 20th July 2016
In response to some complaints about lack of consultation and transparency over decision making about the felling of some trees - for the past few months - residents have received a questionnaire about their views on felling trees on their street.
If more than 50% of responses say residents are unhappy about the proposals - the streets have been referred to an Independent Tree Panel - established by Sheffield City Council (see link below for details of the panel).
Sheffield City Council have just published the first recommendations from the Indepdendent Tree Panel (ITP) and the action that the Council have decided to take in light of these recommendations.
On the four streets considered so far 10 trees were identified as healthy.
The ITP recommended retaining 7 of them. SCC have decided to retain 1 of them.
For our postion statement on Sheffield Street trees, and advice about them, see here.