Streets Ahead is a £2billion city-wide highways maintenance contract being delivered by Amey to improve Sheffield’s roads, pavements, street lights, verges, street trees, bridges and other ‘street scene’ furniture.
As part of the Streets Ahead contract, Amey’s Tree Team are tasked by the City Council with managing the 36,000 trees on the road network across the city.
During the first five years of the Streets Ahead contract, around 5,500 trees have been felled on a ‘remove and replace one for one’ basis.
This is an unprecedented number of street trees being felled in a relatively short period time, often concentrated in residential areas where mature trees are a well-loved feature of the street.
Many local residents, including many of our members, are greatly concerned about the scale of the tree felling programme and its impact on the city’s wildlife as well as the significant reduction in the other environmental benefits that city trees provide.
The main areas of protest and controversy have been in relation to proposed or actual felling of:
1. Healthy mature trees that fall in to the above 6Ds (more information below)
2. Significant trees, e.g. for cultural reasons such as memorial trees
3. Distinctive individual trees or avenues of trees and the approach to communication, transparency, consultation and handling of the felling decision process, increasingly involving the police, security guards, security fencing and court cases against protestors.
Due to extensive protests in some areas of the city particularly affected by the tree felling programme, the Council and Amey recently called a pause to the work.
Amey had been using the following tree removal process:
Trees are inspected by an Amey tree inspector. They make recommendations to the Council as to whether a tree should be removed or managed in some way. This is done on the basis that the next tree inspection may be in five years’ time (this is the agreed maximum period between inspections). Any tree will be assessed as to whether it is ‘reasonably’ safe until the next inspection.
Sheffield City Council have referred to these reasons as ‘The 6 Ds’:
Dangerous, Dead, Diseased, Dying, Damaging, Discriminatory (i.e. for pushchair and wheelchair users)
Following this assessment, Sheffield City Council visit the site of any tree proposed for removal and either approve or reject this. For a couple of years there has also been referral to an Independent Tree Panel, set up by the Council, but this has now ceased to exist.
For more information please refer to the Sheffield Streets Ahead 5 Year Tree Management Strategy or go to Sheffield City Council’s website: