Felling healthy trees is no ‘trivial matter’

Trees have been felled across Sheffield as part of a road improvement programme
Trees have been felled across Sheffield as part of a road improvement programme
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I am mystified as to how B Gannon, (Letters, May 5), has arrived at the figure of between ‘50 to 70 people in Sheffield demonstrating against tree felling’ when there are in fact many thousands of people protesting via petitions, letters to the press, mass gatherings, and those brave souls visibly out on the streets campaigning against this shocking act of environmental vandalism.

Felling healthy trees is no ‘trivial matter’ and how dare he/she assume that those who care about trees are not concerned about other important issues? Many people, including myself, have spent a large part of their lives standing up against injustice whether on environmental issues or the welfare of people and animals. We care about our planet and strive to make it a safer and better place for our children and grandchildren.

B Gannon says ‘the people who stood in front of the Town Hall should demonstrate on life-or-death matters’, well that is exactly what they are doing. Sheffield has one of the highest levels of air pollution in the country which according to a recent survey is estimated to lead to the premature deaths of 500 people every year and costs £160 million in lost working days due to illness. Trees, especially the larger mature ones, protect us from pollution, so the more trees that are chopped down the greater the reduction in our air quality, leading to poorer health and the added burden on the NHS.

Most problems caused by tree roots damaging pavements could have been rectified using simple engineering solutions which the council and Amey refused to implement. Trees provide us with life-giving oxygen and benefit and enhance the environment around us, so what could be more important than trying to prevent them from being felled?

The £47,000 wasted by the police on ‘controlling’ the tree campaigners was totally unnecessary and should have been used on tackling real criminals instead of harassing respectable, peaceful and mostly elderly people for merely trying to protect the trees on their streets.

What a nasty society it has become in which a council destroys a city’s heritage and tries to criminalise its decent citizens for challenging their deplorable actions. Instead of ridiculing the tree campaigners it would be interesting to hear what contribution B Gannon has made towards tackling the issues he/she is so concerned about.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10