I am writing to respond to William Ronksley’s letter on the tree topic, ‘Health and Safety need respect’, (The Star, January 7).
Three trip hazards – one only apparently related to a tree – have allegedly been reported to Sheffield City Council (SCC) for Rustlings Road. All three were unsuccessful in their claims.
SCC’s Streets Ahead programme should be applying all reasonable alternative solutions and specifications to felling – and these should have been costed for in the £2.2 billion contract.
So far, we’ve seen little to no evidence that these exist or are being used. If they were applied, both our safety and retaining and managing in a sustainable way our mature, healthy roadside trees would be met.
These trees are invaluable to our long-term health, ecology and economy.
SCC’s Streets Ahead default position is to fell while they pretend it is a “last resort”.
This is all done under the false altruism of saying it is for our safety.
More than 3,000 roadside trees have now been lost and at least 15,000 more are on the chopping list.
Helping SCC’s Streets Ahead and their contractor Amey with this harmful approach, are the exaggerated and perpetuated myths that residents are somehow wanting to keep unsafe trees.
Both safety and retaining mature, healthy roadside trees can be married together – if and when SCC’s Streets Ahead programme and their contractor Amey have the desire to do so.
At the moment, maximising private profit remains the priority.
We and the media should continue to ask vital questions about this expensive Streets Ahead programme being delivered on our behalf, get answers and consider the following:
“So far as non-fatal injuries in the UK are concerned, the number of accident and emergency cases (A&E) attributable to being struck by trees (about 55 a year) is exceedingly small compared with the roughly 2.9 million leisure-related A&E cases per year.
Footballs (262,000), children’s swings (10,900) and even wheelie bins (2,200) are involved in many more incidents.” – National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) report.
More respect is indeed needed – but it is by SCC’s Streets Ahead and their contractor Amey for our city’s green heritage and its people.
Name & address supplied