Residents upset by the removal of hundreds of trees from Sheffield streets attended a public meeting to voice their concerns.
More than 600 trees have been pulled down in the city so far as part of a £2 billion scheme to upgrade all of Sheffield’s pavements and roads over the next 20 years.
Although contractor Amey has promised to replace the trees, which were said to be damaging streets and pavements or in a poor condition, some residents are angry over what they claim has been a lack of public consultation.
They told a meeting, hosted by Sheffield’s Green Party and attended by environmentalist Professor Ian Rotherham, that notices about proposed tree felling were placed so high up they could not be read – and claimed they were ‘notified’ of decisions rather than ‘consulted’ with.
Councillor Jillian Creasy said: “It is important that local people have a say in how the work is done in their areas and that the process is transparent and accountable.
“We are glad to have hosted this meeting with Ian Rotherham to highlight concerns.
“I am writing to council officers and representatives of its commercial partner, Amey, to urge them to review and improve their communication and consultation processes.”
Prof Rotherham said: “I recognise the importance of urban street trees and the benefits brought to people living on those streets. I acknowledge the difficulties involved in street tree management under punitive austerity measures, but the adverse impacts are felt at the most local level.”
A total of 700 trees have been removed so far – and 250 new trees have been planted.
A further 750 trees are to be planted before March.
Councillor Jack Scott, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for environment, recycling and street scene, said: “We do a lot to engage already and I know that replacing street trees arouses strong views.
“The issue for us is that some people love them and some people hate them.
“We’re listening to feedback about how we communicate with people about the trees, and always look to see how we can better share information.”