Threatened Sheffield tree in final 10 for England's Tree of the Year award

Campaigners fighting to save the elm tree in Chelsea Road, Sheffield.
Campaigners fighting to save the elm tree in Chelsea Road, Sheffield.
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One of the Sheffield trees threatened by felling is on the shortlist for a national award.

The elm on the corner of Chelsea Road and Union Road in Nether Edge is one of 10 across England up for the Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year award.

It is said to be one of only 1,000 left across the country outside Brighton and is host to the rare White-letter Hairstreak butterfly. About 60 million elm trees have been killed by Dutch elm disease since the 1920s.

The tree is still threatened with felling by Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead programme, despite protests from local residents.

Tree campaigner Paul Selby, who nominated the tree, said: “Reaching the shortlist for Tree of the Year highlights the national importance and recognition of the Chelsea Road elm tree. To Sheffield Council, it is just another insignificant piece of timber for felling. To the public it is a vital asset to the local natural biodiversity.

"Regardless of whether this tree is ultimately saved from felling, there are countless other Sheffield street trees at risk of negligent Sheffield Council behaviour. I only hope that the national recognition of the elm tree helps to highlight the destructive folly of Sheffield Council's behaviour in felling over half its mature street trees."

The Tree of the Year is decided by public vote, and people can choose their favourite at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/tree-of-the-year. The shortlist also includes the 1,000-year-old Bowthorpe Oak, a hollow tree near Bourne in Lincolnshire; and a Mulberry Bush at HMP Wakefield, said to be the inspiration to the nursery rhyme 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush'.

The winning tree in England will benefit from a care grant of £1,000, with any tree receiving more than 1,000 votes receiving a grant of £500. The grant can be used to arrange a health check from an arboriculturalist, provide interpretation or educational materials or simply just hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said: “Trees like the Chelsea Road elm have stood for many, many years and each will have a special place in peoples’ lives.

"By celebrating them and reminding people of their value we hope to support and influence those who can ensure they continue to thrive for future generations.”

Voting closes on October 9.

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