This is a letter to Paul Billington, Sheffield Council’s director of Culture and Environment. You can play around with statistics all you like and say whatever you want to try and convince us that everything is OK, but it’s not going to work. Everything is not OK!
It’s not normal for residents to spend years campaigning against something that the council is doing. It’s not normal for the council to take residents and councillors to courtfor standing up for what they believe in.
It’s not normal for professionals like myself to put their reputation on the line and use their free time and money to try to battle through what I say is layers of misinformation and misinterpretations from a local authority which is endowed with the responsibility to promote good practice.
Instead we’re all being ignored.
You know as well as we do that this has gone too far to simply be resolved with an email about a statistic.
It’s time for action, and I don’t mean court action that threatens to steal the homes of good, respectable members of the community you have been entrusted to serve.
These people will not be bullied into submission, no amount of threats, emails, police intervention, court hearings or anything else will make this go away.
Until the felling of healthy trees in Sheffield STOPS, this battle will continue. It’s going to be a very long 25 year contract unless something gives and real changes are made.
Every single Tree Officer I’ve spoken to about this are as appalled and worried as I am, PFI for trees is a direct threat to my role and the industry as a whole, not to mention the health and environment of Sheffield and its residents and the rest of the country.
This is a problem that cannot be ignored or played down. The only solution is real change, nothing else will suffice.
As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s the truth. Someone, somewhere has the power to fix this mess and now is the time for it to happen.
Tree Officer, London