My letter published in yesterday’s Sheffield Telegraph:
The claim by Sheffield City Council/Amey’s Streets Ahead programme that “street trees are only removed as a last resort” has been repeated numerous times. If we put to one side the 1120 street trees that have been felled since the beginning of the contract which were diseased, dying or dead, that leaves 3048 healthy trees felled for damaging pavements/kerbs. Because these are the trees that are felled as a “last resort”, it logically follows there must be a minimum of 3048 damaging trees that didn’t reach the last resort and were or are being dealt with by the implementation of engineering solutions within the 5 Year Tree Management Plan including the use of flexible paving and ramping/re-profiling of footway levels. Amey should have an overwhelming catalogue of impressive tree-related engineering work to show off.
Three months and seven emails ago, I asked Amey for examples of where in Sheffield engineering solutions have been employed to remedy damage to pavements/kerbs caused by healthy trees. Eventually, in March I was given five locations at which I would find two tree pits and supposed hand-dug resurfacing. I spent three hours at these locations struggling to find any work undertaken that was relevant to my request.
Why is it that given a few hours and my laptop, I’d be able to compose a lengthy list of healthy but damaging street trees that were unnecessarily felled, but Amey, given three months, are still unable to provide a set of varied examples of engineering solutions which they have undertaken themselves in Sheffield to retain damaging but healthy street trees? Without the examples (of which, there should be hundreds), it’s impossible to believe the “last resort” statement. It’s worth mentioning, from the minutes of a council meeting on the 4th January, this year; “it was felt that Sheffield City Council and Amey did not look to use engineering solutions to retain trees as a first principle”.
It would seem Amey are not implementing the engineering solutions which they are contractually obliged and paid to pursue in the Streets Ahead Plan and Sheffield City Council are (for some unknown reason) extremely reluctant to make them comply.