Darn those campaigners

I am writing in response to Coun Peter Price's letter in The Star on January 13.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 6:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 6:16 am
Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield
Save the trees campaign on Rustlings Road in Sheffield

Coun Price is right – hardly a week goes by without letters appearing in the local papers about our city’s highway trees being felled.

Despite this deluge, our Labour-led council still stubbornly refuse to do the U-turn that not only we locals can see is much needed, but a watching world audienc

Coun Price writes that readers seem to be unaware “that on September 5, 2008 when the Liberal Democrats ran our council and Lord Scriven was the leader… six mature trees on Rustlings Road were felled” .

As one of the founders of the SORT (Save Our Roadside Trees, formerly Save Our Rustlings Trees), I can say that many of us were more than aware of it. It is one of the reasons why, when signs to fell went up in spring 2015, on 11 trees on that road, we decided enough was enough.

Many of us doubted that the initial six trees had necessarily needed to come down and we were not going to passively sit back and watch 11 more taken in 2015, on the grounds of a mere patchy piece of laminated paper being stuck on them by SCC. We also wondered how far this was happening around the city and we set out to expose it.

Another key difference was that those who track the local media had by now noticed Meersbrook had stated an objection about the fellings around 2012 and we were also aware of a campaign to try to keep the heritage street lights on roads like Hickmott Road in 2015.

All had been removed under the guise of improvement by SCC’s Streets Ahead.

We started to see what was happening and we started to object in a more joined- up form; irrespective of area or postcode.

The other difference is, that had the Lib Dems still been in power, I genuinely believe, that unlike this Labour-led council, they would have done the necessary U-turn by now, reviewed the necessary parts of the contract delivery, and certainly not resorted to pre-dawn raids arresting grannies using laws more apt for terrorist attacks.

While I don’t think any of the political parties thought that the delivery of the Streets Ahead contract would have such a devastating effect on our street trees –it has been further increased by Amey fast-tracking the felling to suit their contract needs.

Put simply, I don’t believe that the Lib Dems would have let the tail wag the dog for so long.

As someone who comes from generations of Labour voters, and in the past, an admirer of Peter Price, his stubborn stance, along with other Labour councillors and Labour MPs on this topic, is most disappointing.

If there has been any political motivations, it has been by Labour determined to teach what they see as Lib Dem voters a lesson. Only they got it wrong.

As for replacing the eight Rustlings Road trees (seven actually – the tree named after local journalist Ellen Beardmore still defiantly stands), let’s remember a few facts.

Originally, there were 190 trees on that road; now there are 25. So, if 17 are re-planted, that only brings it up to 35. So, not that generous really – for a road called Rustlings.

Coun Price adds: “Sheffield will be left with more highway trees than we ever had.”

Again, it’s not about number – it’s about canopy cover, the type mature trees provide.

Coun Price’s third point is ‘that during 2015 Sheffield created 17 woodlands and planted 50,000 extra trees”.

Those are woodland trees, not street trees and those working in our local woodlands, have even questioned those figures.

Darn those pesky campaigners for revealing that difference .

Louise Wilcockson

Save Our Roadside Trees (formerly Save Our Rustlings Trees) part of STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups)

What became of old system?

The Government want GPs to work seven days a week.

At our surgery on East Bank Road S2, an appointment can only be booked by phone from 8am to 9.30am, so if one can’t get appointment that day, then we have to wait another day.

If one goes to the surgery by person, you can not even speak to a doctor in person. What happened to the old system?

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