Tree-felling scandal

At the risk of boring some correspondents who have said they are fed up reading about trees, I would like to make a few further comments about some incorrect assumptions regarding the ongoing battle to save them.

Rustlings Road
Rustlings Road

Some people have said there are far more important issues to worry about in spite of the fact that without trees none of us could survive, and have also accused the campaigners of caring more about trees than people.

On the contrary, it is usually those of us who care passionately about our surroundings and green open spaces who also show equal concern for human beings and often challenge many other issues in our society that affect people’s well-being.

Sadly, some people fail to understand the importance of trees and the vital role they play in our environment. The accumulative effect of felling thousands of mature, healthy trees across our city could have disastrous consequences in terms of pollution levels and flood protection which cannot be compensated by replacing them with new trees.

No matter how many saplings are planted they cannot provide the effective protection of the felled trees that had large canopies and possibly another 100-150 years of life ahead of them. According to Keith Sacre, chairman of the Arboricultural Association, 60 trees would need to be planted to replace just ONE mature plane tree.

Trees also contribute in so many other ways, as many people find great comfort in planting them when they lose a loved one, which helps them to cope with their loss as they watch the tree grow to maturity and flourish over the years.

Many of the lovely tree-lined roads in our city are a legacy from Victorian benefactors who donated money for the planting of the beautiful trees we have today.

The plane trees on Western Road in Crookes, now in danger of being felled, were planted to commemorate brave local soldiers who gave their lives in WW1 and should remain as a constant reminder of the terrible price they paid for defending their country.

Regarding the felled Rustlings Road trees, someone commented that “putting flowers on the railings of Endcliffe Park, as if someone had died, was way over the top”.

For those of us who have lived in the area of these beautiful trees they had become familiar friends so why shouldn’t we place flowers and mourn their loss as they were living things needlessly destroyed?

In one letter I detected a rather nasty undercurrent of bitterness and resentment towards those who have worked damned hard to enable them to live in large houses in “the leafy suburbs”.

These lovely tree-lined roads across the city are now being ruined and changed beyond all recognition due to the irresponsible tree-felling programme by our council who, I recall years ago, promised never to fell a healthy tree.

However, what else could we expect from Amey and Sheffield City Council who put profit and contracts before people and trees?

Thank you very much for publishing all my previous tree letters and I am hoping the above comments may be my final ones on the subject if public pressure on the council can persuade them to reconsider their present appalling felling policy.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10