Despite the council fully explaining the reasoning behind the recently released sections of the Streets Ahead contract, some letters which appeared in The Star failed to recognise the facts surrounding our street tree replacement work.
For further clarity, we explained that, while the figure of 17,500 trees is included in the contract wording, this is most certainly not a target or a fixed number that Amey must replace; it simply gives the council the option to replace this number within the agreed contract price.
However, in response to questions in recent months, we have consistently said that our best current estimate of the number of trees to be replaced over the full life of the contract, (including those already replaced), is around 10,000.
We are not removing healthy trees because we take any satisfaction in doing so, but rather to fulfil our legal duty to maintain safe passage on our roads and pavements.
The contract wisely gives the ratepayer ‘insurance cover’ to ensure we aren’t vulnerable to long-term risks as the health and impact of our street trees continue to change over time.
If for any reason, such as major disease outbreak, the council has to replace a number of trees it can do so without any extra cost to the Sheffield ratepayer.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen continued unlawful behaviour displayed by a number of protesters around our work on street trees, and this cannot be tolerated.
We are incredibly proud of our green credentials which is why, our programme of works will ensure we have an increased street tree stock for generations to come.
Councillor Bryan Lodge
Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council