At a time when the city is being rebranded as The Outdoor City in the hope of becoming a tourist destination because of it, is it not ironic and really disappointing that council and its contractor, Amey, are hell-bent on felling healthy highway trees throughout the city?
The beauty and civic amenity of the Rustlings Road lime trees complement Endcliffe Park – which is no doubt one of the destination parks that the city will want to promote to tourists.
Those trees are part of our city’s heritage and every endeavour should be made to ensure that minimal damage is done to them during the Streets Ahead road improvements.
As readers will know the tree supporters within the city have pointed out time and time again to the council and Amey that they are not taking all options into account when making assessments and have not applied the ‘precautionary principle’ when considering individual trees.
Indeed recently it was revealed that the council’s highway chief, Steve Robinson, was recorded saying “we’re not interested” in the “nonsense” reasons people come up with on why individual trees should be saved from being removed and replaced.
Mr Robinson’s attitude seems to typify that of our council, many of our councillors and Amey.
Their highway tree strategy? Undertake little consultation, pretend to listen, carry on as originally planned before the ‘consultation process’ and when citizens raise their legitimate concerns, procrastinate, arrange forums, don’t listen to points raised, ignore views and no doubt plan to carry on as before.
Petitioners, campaigners and action groups are all telling the council the same thing – listen to our concerns, take them into account and adjust your policies accordingly.
Maybe the tide is turning, though.
The council has promised to undertake a tree strategy – due March 2016 and they have sidelined Steve Robinson from the tree frontline and the Rustlings Road trees are still there – at the moment.
Let’s hope his replacement is better able to relate to and act upon the concerns of the tree supporting citizens of our city.
I applaud the council’s aspiration to be known as The Outdoor City, as well as being Britain’s greenest city but I really would like the council to adopt a policy of becoming ‘The Listening City’.
The petitioners and voters of our city really are listening to what you say and watching what you do.
Do the right thing and take care of our highway trees.
Sign the petition at Save the trees on Rustling Road, Sheffield