Trees across Sheffield have been axed in what residents called a felling ‘frenzy’ this week – days after the results of household surveys on the topic.
The replacement of highway trees through Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead contract with Amey has become a city-wide controversy in the last year.
Households were asked for views on planned felling by the council in surveys and it was confirmed last week that 36 streets had been referred to an independent panel for further review because more than half the respondents had concerns.
However, trees on several streets, where the 50 per cent trigger was not met, have been taken down since then and before a second debate on tree felling at Sheffield Council’s meeting onFebruary 3, after more than 5,000 people signed a Nether Edge petition.
Ann Anderson, of Devonshire Road in Dore, referred to a survey letter which said residents would be informed before felling began. Five trees were taken down on the road in two days.
She said: “This is completely out of order. Residents have not been informed of the outcomes directly, only through local and social media, and the promise of more information has been openly disregarded.”
On Old Hay Close in Dore, two trees were axed. One was a cherry tree removed because Amey said it was damaging the pavement.
Other reasons given for felling are that trees are diseased, dead, dying, dangerous or discriminatory because they block access.
Resident Rich Ward said there had been a ‘tree felling frenzy’.
He added: “Amey is clearly keen to play catch up.”
Coun Julie Dore, Leader of the council, said: “Removing trees is a last resort, and when we do have to this, we always plant a replacement.
“We understand people are worried about the future of Sheffield’s trees and want to reassure residents that this is the largest, positive programme of investment in the city’s trees ever to happen.
“Without it, tree numbers will decline and future generations will not be able to say they live in one of the greenest cities in Britain.
“To date we have removed 3,388 trees and replanted 3,618. We recognise there are a lot of myths circulating about our tree programme and we want to set the record straight.
“We recognise people want more information about the work and our priority over the next few weeks will be to make this more readily available and be clearer about the council’s commitment to the city’s trees.”