This coming week marks the start of the removal of dozens of mature cherry trees in Norton. Planted more than 40 years ago these mature trees provide an important habitat for wildlife in the locality while enhancing the beauty of the area.
In the majority of cases the reason given for the removal is because the tree is causing “damage to the pavement”.
Although there is in many cases some minor damage to the pavement, an inevitable consequence of having trees in our environment, this will be remedied with the upcoming pavement and road resurfacing, which would be carried out whether the trees were removed or not.
In fact, removing trees will inevitably cause dying roots to allow the pavement to sink in future.
Of even greater concern there is very little pavement damage evident from most of the condemned trees, while others which look exactly the same and have not been condemned. Surely tree removal should be an absolute last resort?
These mature trees have reached their established size and as a consequence will not cause any significant additional pavement damage in the future in all but a few exceptional cases.
The trees will be replaced with “new ones” which will inevitably cause damage as they grow vigorously to reach maturity over the coming decades.
The public consultation for this en-masse removal has been woefully poor and falls short of anything reasonable. A single day roadshow took place at a few locations about the upcoming road resurfacing and streetlight improvements.
A few days ago the condemned trees had notices weakly stapled to them which blew off in the wind the following day, leaving most residents blissfully unaware that their lovely trees will soon be gone.
Amey state that “more people want rid of the trees than want to keep them”. I’m not sure when this survey took place but of the 20 or so neighbours I have spoken to not one wishes to see the trees removed and none has been surveyed by Amey.
My photo of a condemned tree, (Kansas cherry), facing page, shows no evidence of pavement damage.
Norton Park View, Sheffield, S8