Lib Dems need to take responsibilty

Councillor Otten
Councillor Otten
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Councillor Otten rightly calls for Sheffield City Council to “restore faith by taking responsibility” and bring about a “moratorium on tree felling until a citywide tree strategy is in place”, (Letters, January 28, 2016).

It is true that the Labour Council is displaying an arrogance and contempt for local residents who want to protect the city’s green heritage.

Perhaps Coun Otten should also ask his Liberal Democrats colleagues to take some responsibility for this mess over the fate of the roadside trees.

The offending contract with Amey was negotiated by them while they were the largest party on the Council between 2008 and 2011 and they “warmly welcomed” the project.

They knew then all about the threat to the trees and the lack of accountability that was written into the deal yet they now appear to be ignorant of these facts.

Labour completed the agreement when they took control after the elections in 2011.

The Sheffield Green Party Councillors had no part in the contract discussions but they warned at the time that the deal was bad for the city.

We saw that handing over control of vital work to Amey would lose the accountability that is so badly needed to resolve this current situation.

It means that Amey does what is best for its shareholders and not what the people of Sheffield want.

The Green Party believes we need a tree strategy that is open and fully debated across the city before implementation.

It should take into account all the benefits the trees bring to people; a plan for investment in planting schemes across the whole city; details of how the council manages the stock for the long term; and build in local residents’ involvement in future decision-making. Hopefully, the council will agree to this, in response to the thousands of Sheffield people who have signed petitions opposing tree-felling.

Steve Barnard

Nether Edge & Sharrow Green Party