STAG want Sheffield City Council (SCC) to halt all non-essential tree felling operations until:
- SCC commission, adopt and resource a robust evidence-based Highway Tree Strategy, similar to those in place in other cities across the UK.
- SCC carry out a fit-for-purpose cost benefit analysis acknowledging the asset value of our street trees.
- SCC act on their assertion to the High Court in February 2016 that they would only remove a healthy street tree deemed to be ‘damaging’ the pavement or highway under the following circumstances: “The damage must be such that it cannot be rectified by using reasonably practicable engineering solutions such as flexible paving materials, root removal, raising the footpath level or the use of thinner and/or smaller kerbs.”
- SCC require Amey to put the 14 Engineering and Tree Based Solutions listed, and already paid for in the ‘Streets Ahead’ contract, into full use to retain healthy trees.
Only then can we ensure that Sheffield’s mature street trees have the chance to deliver their maximum benefit to society through the many positive environmental, health and community outcomes that they provide.
What STAG does not want:
- STAG does not object to the removal of dead, dying, dangerous or significantly diseased trees.
- STAG does not wish to prevent highway tree stock renewal. We recognise that tree stock renewal through selective replanting is important to the long-term management of Sheffield’s ‘urban forest’. However, the council’s felling program is far too drastic. Many of the trees being felled have over 100 years of safe useful life expectancy (SULE) and, if current targets are met, over one-sixth (6,000) of Sheffield’s 35,000 street trees will have been felled within the first five years of the Streets Ahead highways renewal programme and roughly half (17,500) by the end of the Programme.
- STAG does not seek to prevent felling where householders can provide expert evidence that roots from nearby highway trees are damaging buildings. Experts advise that buildings should be professionally monitored for movement over a suitable timeframe by a qualified structural engineer. In the two instances where residents have shown us this documentation we have withdrawn our objections to felling.