Campaign seems to be orchestrated

In the last few days you have printed a number of letters rubbishing the concerns of those in Sheffield who want to save many of the 18,000 mature roadside trees, mainly healthy, that Amey propose to fell as part of their PFI contract with Sheffield City Council. So far, they've got rid of 3,599 of them.

Thursday, 28th January 2016, 6:10 am
Updated Thursday, 28th January 2016, 6:14 am
Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield

These concerns have been described as “naive, distorted, or untrue”.

The regularity of them in your paper smacks of an orchestrated campaign in favour of the councils’ stance.

The most high-profile one, your Star Letter, of January 15, from Coun Peter Price MBE spoke of “distortion and untruths”. Maybe he would share with us what these have been? The SORT campaign has only put forward irrefutable facts.

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To go back a little, the SORT campaign started last May after Amey, SCC’s appointed contractor, put notices on 11 mature, large-crowned lime trees on Rustlings Road stating that, after inspection, they needed to be felled. Despite a massive campaign from people all over Sheffield, (there are now more than 15,000 votes against), a full council meeting in June, voted to ignore it, (after a block Labour vote) against the motion.

Strangely enough, Amey have now decided that three of the eleven trees are OK , and don’t need felling! Is that distorted or untrue?

We then had the fiasco of them installing a new street light on the south side of Rustlings Road, in the centre of the pavement, a hazard for pram pushers, partially sighted etc, because it was a bit difficult on the other side of the road, where it should have been

Eventually, a chastened Amey moved it to its original site but, while doing so, forgot that, in accord with the contract, an arborculturalist should have been present. The necessary excavations passed within one metre of each of two mature trees, which is not allowed. Is that distorted?

We know there was no street tree policy in force prior to the PFI agreement made with Amey, and we know that Amey are generally doing a good job renewing lighting, roads, pavements.

It’s such a pity that the ruling Labour group aren’t willing to admit their past negotiating mistakes with Amey, redo it, and move forward, for the benefit of all of us. Is that naive?

The excellent letter by Howard Greaves in last Wednesday’s Star highlighting the council’s past errors drew attention to Coun Prices’s spurious letter, but rightly refused to dignify it. Is that naive?

SF Johnson

Pro- SORT & ex-Labour