Is it too much to ask to remove right trees?

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I write regarding the spate of tree fellings within Greenhill in recent days, as covered in Saturday’s edition of The Star.

Since I was first informed by Streets Ahead that more than 150 trees in the Greenhill area would be felled, I have done my best as the local councillor to keep residents informed and raise their concerns with the council.

In recent weeks more than 30 people have contacted me with their concerns, mostly about trees that are either damaging and diseased and are not being removed, or trees that are perfectly fine but are being targeted.

This lack of consistency and the seemingly arbitrary nature of the assessments is one of the reasons why I and my Lib Dem colleagues called for a temporary halt to the work and an independent review at the full council meeting in July.

This proposal was dismissed and voted down by the Labour councillors and members of the public in the gallery were even derided by one Labour councillor for “whingeing about a few trees”.

Earlier last week, after meetings with residents, I contacted senior council officers asking for a temporary halt to the removal of trees in my ward and for the trees to be reassessed, proving examples of healthy trees which were to be removed and obviously diseased trees just feet away which were to be left.

My request was denied, with council officers claiming that the trees would prevent double-decker buses or large lorries passing down the centre of roads which have never seen a bus service in their existence. Despite me providing photographic evidence to the contrary, they have pressed ahead, with removals starting earlier than indicated on the tree notices and just a couple of days after me contacting them.

Even though it is Amey who are carrying out the work, it is the council which has the final say over the fate of each and every tree.

Unfortunately our city is burdened with a Labour administration which has no regard for the views of local residents or even local councillors.

As their refusal to answer The Star’s Freedom of Information requests show, they have also little regard for evidence and transparency. This is why residents have taken it into their own hands to defend healthy and non-damaging trees outside their homes from the council’s axe.

Is it too much to ask that the council removes the right trees?

Coun Richard Shaw

Lib Dem for Beauchief & Greenhill