COLUMN: With two million trees, are we really going to miss a few?
I have a feeling that this week's dip into the world of Sheffield life may well lose me one or two fans.
But now we know each other, I’m going to have to be totally frank and honest - and I hope you’ll bear with me.
We’re talking trees.
It is the word that seems to be on the lips of people across all parts of the Steel City over the last few months and one which my colleagues have reported extensively, with acres of coverage about the council’s controversial ‘chop ‘em down’ drive and the increasingly angry campaign to save them.
We’re not going to get bogged down in the nitty gritty of the debate, most of you will already know the ins and outs, the heroes and villains of the piece and what’s been going on.
But as an out of towner, the whole discussion has left me feeling, well, somewhat puzzled.
I’ve always felt Sheffield to be a particularly green and leafy place. Indeed, in comparison to my hometown of Doncaster, there’s far more streets lined with all manner of foliage. Where I come from, you’re lucky to see a leaf, let alone a tree.
I’m reliably informed that the city is the greenest in England and boasts more than two million trees - and that’s more than any other city.
So is a few getting the axe really all that bad?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no advocate of trees being hacked to bits, but it seems in many of the reported cases, there’s a genuine need for them to go.
Surely its better to take out one or two trees if roads and paths are being wrecked?
And I’m sure homeowners in the affected streets would be the first to complain if a rotting tree came crashing through their roof in the midsts of a storm, an elderly relative stumbled and broke a hip while tripping on a pavement uplifted by sprawling tree roots or their car’s suspension was damaged by bouncing along bumpy roads.
Spare me the missives telling me why I’m wrong but to me some of the anger and protests don’t seem to be justified.
Is it about saving trees or taking on authority?