How have we been involved in the situation in Sheffield?
We started talking to Sheffield City Council about street tree felling and the need to retain mature trees back in 2015. We took part in street tree advisory forum meetings and lobbied council officers and officials directly with concerns. Much of this is recorded in blogs written by my colleague Nick Sandford.
We also talked and worked closely with local campaigners to support them where they asked us to step in, for example by helping raise awareness of individual trees of great value that are threatened with the axe. Such important trees include the mature elm tree on Chelsea Road, Nether Edge – runner-up in our Tree of the Year contest last year – and the war memorial trees in Crookes.
A number of Sheffield street tree campaign groups have also linked to the Tree Charter campaign, our charter which ensures trees are better valued and protected in UK society. By becoming Charter Branches these groups are ensuring that their local concerns are seen in the wider context of UK society, where street trees can offer so much to people and the environment if they are planted, managed and protected from unnecessary loss.
Over time we have made offers to Sheffield City Council to act as an intermediary to help bring concerned local residents and council officials together, fund and publicly support an independent assessment of a selection of the trees scheduled for felling (to see if the same conclusions were reached as that of the council’s contractor), and help put council officials in touch with others with similar experiences in other locations.
Unfortunately none of these offers have been taken up.