Sheffield trees felling prompts political row

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
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The controversial felling of Sheffield’s trees has prompted a row between Labour and the Lib Dems.

Lib Dem Leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed has written an open letter calling for a pause in the tree felling programme.

But Labour has accused Coun Mohammed of “rank hypocrisy” and says the Lib Dems have spent years trying to claim credit for the Streets Ahead contract.

Coun Mohammed said: “Regardless of how we have reached this situation, what is needed is a pause in the felling of street trees, something that three of Labour’s Parliamentary colleagues have also called for.

“What we require is some form of independent mediation, preferably from someone outside the city, to bring together the council, the police, and members of STAG to see how we can move forward.

“I am deeply concerned by the ongoing negative media coverage that the city continues to receive and I hope that the Leader of the Council will look upon my request positively.”

Labour says it has held a number of meetings with STAG over recent years and the vast majority of the tree replacements in the main investment period have already been completed.

Coun Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This is rank hypocrisy from the Lib Dems who not only developed the policy on tree replacements that was put into the contract when they were running the council and Shaffaq Mohammed was in the Cabinet, but have also spent years trying to claim credit for the Streets Ahead contract.

“In fact only two weeks ago the Lib Dems put forward a budget which did not suggest any changes to the Streets Ahead contract, including tree replacements.

“It’s ironic that Shaffaq Mohammed is complaining about negative media coverage with a press statement designed to generate negative media coverage.

“The fact is that no one talks this great city down more than the Lib Dems for their own political ends, including the benefits of the Streets Ahead work which has seen the resurfacing of our roads and pavements across the city and record levels of satisfaction with the city’s roads”