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Statement on Sheffield’s street trees

Trees for Cities is deeply concerned about the felling of street trees as part of Sheffield City Council’s Streets Ahead programme.  Whilst Trees for Cities accepts that in all urban contexts there will be a small percentage of dead, dying, diseased or dangerous trees that will need to be removed, it believes there to be irrefutable evidence that a number of healthy mature trees have been felled where other options were available.  Trees for Cities calls for Sheffield City Council and Amey to immediately suspend the tree felling programme until an agreed way forward is reached amongst all key stakeholders.

At the very ethos of Trees for Cities is a belief that no healthy street tree should be destroyed before the end of its natural life, apart for in exceptional circumstances.  Street trees have an irreplaceable aesthetic value that help make our cities liveable.  They provide essential ecosystem services such as cleaning and cooling of the air, absorption of greenhouse gases and the reduction of flood risk.  They are associated with a number of social health benefits.  They create a connection with nature and the seasons.  They act as a habitat for wildlife and protected species.  It can take up to 100 years for a tree to reach maturity and provide its full social and environmental benefits, and hence the removal of any tree should be deemed as a last resort and alternatives such as engineering solutions should always be adopted where possible.  It is absolutely unacceptable for any tree to be removed for economic gain.

Trees for Cities has planted trees in Sheffield over the past ten years undertaking projects in schools and creating urban woodlands and community orchards.  Over this period we have planted over 25,000 trees.  To deliver these projects, we have worked closely with the Community Forestry Team of Sheffield City Council’s Parks Countryside Service and we have always received great support.  It is with deep regret, however, that whilst these practices continue Trees for Cities is unable to develop further projects on council land.  For the sake of the city’s trees, inhabitants and wildlife, we implore the decision-makers in the City Council, Amey and local politicians to urgently seek an acceptable resolution to this situation.