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Sheffield’s Special Trees: Chelsea Road Elm Tree

The elm tree on the corner of Chelsea Road in Sheffield is the epitome of a special tree.

Estimated by experts as somewhere between 100-150 years old, it has survived to maturity while many of its contemporaries have perished. Even when elms within 50m of it fell victim to Dutch elm disease this tree managed to survive.

White-letter hairstreak butterfly (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

What makes the Chelsea Road elm all the more important though is its value to wildlife and local people too.

Home to a colony of the threatened White-letter hairstreak butterfly (96% decline since the mid 1970s), the tree managed to draw a large crowd of local residents in spontaneous protest when it was announced earlier this year that it was set to be felled as part of the City Council’s Streets Ahead programme.

Despite city wide protests, thousands of mature street trees in Sheffield are facing the axe

Currently the Chelsea Road elm awaits its fate and the verdict of the City Council’s independent tree panel, which will decide whether it lives or dies.

For some time now we have been calling for a pause to any further tree felling (other than in cases of danger to the public), a review by an independent arboricultural consultant and for the Council to ensure that at least two trees are planted for every one removed as close as possible to where the original tree stood.