Some more benefits of having street trees

Rivelin Valley Road, Sheffield.
Rivelin Valley Road, Sheffield.
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Now that all those who complain about the coverage given to the Save Our Trees campaign have experienced the benefits of the shade afforded by the trees in the searing heat we’ve had and also the shelter during the recent downpours I would hope that there is more understanding of why so many people value them highly.

Anyone during the hot spell would have taken the option of parking their car on a street under a tree’s canopy if possible, especially when the temperature could be 10°C cooler. And especially when they have to consider the effects of heat on the vulnerable, the elderly, children and pets. The benefits of street trees, in particular those that develop a large canopy, have been pointed out many times. I’d like to throw two more, not yet mentioned, into the mix.

How about a report that the shade from urban trees extends pavement life because it reduces the amount of expansion and contraction caused by the daily heating of the Tarmac? Would this not also apply to roads, especially where they are tree-lined on both sides?

Another study indicates that trees have a calming effect on teenagers and young adults suffering from ADHD and undoubtedly trees release social stress for all people; there are many links between the absence of trees and antisocial behaviour. Researchers have, moreover, demonstrated that motorists suffer less road rage in green urban areas compared to more barren ones and that street trees can help make our cities safer.

Fresh evidence of their benefits to city life is constantly uncovered and it is arrogant of the council to assume it is irrelevant.

I understand the council has not adopted the Capital Asset Valuation of Amenity Trees (CAVAT), which helps put a value on both the tangible and intangible benefits of trees, and this is highly regrettable. It seems to have given little or no thought to the aesthetic, economic and environmental benefits of our trees. By only concentrating on cost rather than value, street trees can only be a problem where the council is concerned. We are now told that the council has stumbled upon a series of documents confirming plans to fell 17,500 of our street trees despite having assured the Information Commissioner’s Office that such information was not held. And it still can’t decide how many trees are destined for the chop. This is farcical.

Where are the council officers who drew up the contract? Surely they can advise the councillors on its contents even if the councillors who signed it off can’t. Is there no-one in the council who knows what the contract actually states or which version is current? When so much money is tied up in it this state of affairs cannot be acceptable or excusable.

Wendy Jenrick

Fulwood Road, S10