Major cash boost to plant 20,000 new trees in Sheffield - years after tree felling scandal

Sheffield is to receive a major cash boost to plant 20,000 trees and enhance the city’s reputation as one of the greenest in the UK – years after the controversy over tree felling sparked city-wide protests.

By Ellen Beardmore
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 6:00 am
A mass protest and march in Sheffield against the City Council and Amey who are felling trees in the city
A mass protest and march in Sheffield against the City Council and Amey who are felling trees in the city

The £200,000 from the Woodland Trust, announced today, is for a ‘Treevitalise’ project to plant more trees across the city - and involve citizens in the planting, care and appreciation of trees, woods and greenspaces.Campaigners fought for years to stop the felling of thousands of Sheffield street trees in a bitter battle that led to protests, police involvement, dawn tree felling and scathing criticism.In October 2020, Sheffield Council made a public apology after accepting the findings of a damning report which revealed it had misled the people of the city over its strategy.Joseph Coles, urban programme lead at the trust, said: “Sheffield has always been blessed with trees.“Three years ago our involvement in Sheffield was purely focused on trying everything we could to put a stop to street tree felling."But since then, things have changed dramatically. There’s a new partnership of stakeholders - including the Trust – striving to repair the damage through genuine collaboration.

"That we now have the confidence to honour our promise to support the council, is testament to their hard work.“It’s fantastic that today we can provide Sheffield with the money to bring a lasting legacy for trees and people in the city.”The money is from the trust’s pilot Emergency Tree Fund. Nationally it is worth £2.9 million, and aims to plant 50 million trees by 2050. Sheffield’s bid is backed by funding from corporate partner IKEA.Liz Ballard, CEO of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and chairman of the Sheffield Street Trees Partnership, said: “It's good to see all our hard work has built confidence to invest in new trees and woodland, with all the added benefits they will bring to people and wildlife.”Creating community orchards, running school sessions and holding events are part of the project.

Catherine Nuttgens, community forestry manager at Sheffield Council, added: “The trees and woodlands of Sheffield fuelled the creation of the city we live in and continue to shape its character.

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Trees on Western Road, Crookes

“Trees bring many benefits to communities, and when the public are involved in their care, the trees benefit too.”

Police supported a pre-dawn tree-felling operation on Rustlings Road
Trees have been felled in Dore, Sheffield