Sheffield City Council and Amey ‘Streets Ahead’ Project – concerns about wildlife?

What is the Streets Ahead Project?

Streets Ahead is a huge city-wide highways maintenance project to improve the City’s roads, pavements, street lights, verges, street trees, bridges and other ‘street scene’ infrastructure. Sheffield City Council have contracted the work out to Amey for 25 years, with the initial improvements happening in the first 5 years followed by 20 years of maintenance.

What is Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust doing?

We have been engaging with Sheffield City Council and Amey about the ‘Streets Ahead’ project from a very early stage to try and ensure the best outcome for wildlife. We lobbied Sheffield City Council to include an obligation in the project contract for the successful contractor to produce a project ‘Biodiversity Action Plan’ (BAP). We are pleased to say this requirement was included. The Amey team who were responsible for setting up the ‘Streets Ahead’ Project did write a ‘1st version’ BAP which both the Trust and Sheffield City Council Ecology Unit commented on.

When the Amey delivery team began work, we started engaging with them on how the BAP and their ecological procedures could be improved and implemented. After some wildlife concerns from members, we hosted a well-attended ‘Evening with Amey’ in July which allowed Amey to explain their procedures and take on board people’s comments. We have followed this up by hosting a meeting of partners interested in helping Amey produce an improved ‘2nd version’ BAP. This work is on-going and will include looking at lighting and opportunities around reduced grass verge cutting. Amey have joined the Trust as a Corporate Member to show their on-going commitment to working positively with us and we will remain as their ‘critical friend’.

Please see here for our position on the removal of Sheffield street trees.

What should you do if you have wildlife concerns about an area?

Have a look at the Streets Ahead web page (above) to see when Amey are coming to your area.
Before Amey start work in an area, they undertake a Streets Roadshow process (details will be posted through people’s letter boxes – you can engage in this process by attending Roadshow events, any public meeting or local ‘tree walks’ organised by Amey. Raise any concerns with their ‘Assembly Stewards’.

If you have knowledge or information about any verges or trees of local value, flag these up with Amey, either through the Roadshow process, or their customer services line 0114 2734567 or tell us and we will tell our contacts with Amey – urgently if need be.

The Wildlife Trust and the University of Sheffield are working with Amey to see whether interventions such as leaving the verges to grow longer, replacing some grassed areas with wildflowers, and introducing native hedgerows or trees, could improve biodiversity; more information about this is available at the Living Highways project.

If you have any general concerns about the contract, suggestions for how things can be improved, or feel that your concerns have not been listened to, do also get in touch with us. Contact us via 0114 2634335 or mail@wildsheffield.com