Sheffield trees issue won’t die

Wildside sightingsCarabus violaceus, the violet ground beetle
Wildside sightingsCarabus violaceus, the violet ground beetle
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I have never had so many messages from emails to letters and ’phone calls, about any other single issue as about Sheffield’s street trees.

There is a further matter raised by readers about his new approach to our precious tree resource. In the case of a site like Meadowhead Roundabout, the tree blitz has now caused a hazard as west-bond drivers are dazzled by the sun setting in the late afternoon.

They cannot actually see the roundabout as they approach it. Furthermore, we have taken a site that cost virtually nothing on the annual maintenance budget and created something which requires the following: design, replanting and landscaping, and then annual maintenance for years to come.

All this is expenditure of our money at a time of forced austerity when countryside services have been cut to the very marrow. Now that is just plain wrong. We need to consider how best to manage steed trees and other green-spaces most effectively and to a high level of quality.

This should be to ensure delivery of the strategies and commitments, which have been hammered out and negotiated over several decades.

At present, this is simply not the case. There are ways to safeguard, enhance and conserve Sheffield’s environment from the Green Belt to the city centre, and this need not cost the earth. As work at Meadowhead has progressed, the apparent real reasons for tree removal have become more apparent.

The area where the trees were growing is being used to store the spoil from the road works. Now that seems a logical explanation for what has happened and it has little to do, I believe, with the condition of the trees themselves.

Go and see for yourself and you will understand what I mean. Anyway, that is my theory and for now, I am sticking with it until persuaded otherwise! Do keep the messages from across the city coming in and feel free to contribute to my blog and to the South Yorkshire Wildlife Action Page of the UKECONET website.

Out in the wider countryside this is an interesting time of year. Himalayan balsam is rampant in many areas, even those like the Cromford Canal where extensive control measures have

been attempted.

The flowers buzz with active bumblebees, which love the balsam, and large dragonflies dart in and out of the stands and over the murky, shallow waters of the canal. Up high on Curbar Edge, I was treated to several ravens cronking and tumbling in post-breeding aerial displays.

They really are masters of their skies and of all they survey. Casting my eyes to the ground it was exciting to see a large, violet ground beetle or carabid, and it was as you might expect, beetling across a path.

Professor Ian D. Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on ianonthewildside@ukeconet.co.uk; follow ‘Ian’s Walk on the Wildside’, www.ukeconet.org for more information.