Support for Sheffield tree felling as council releases survey data

Barry and Claudette White in Larch Hill.
Barry and Claudette White in Larch Hill.

Residents of a Sheffield neighbourhood have come out in support of tree felling in the city.

People living in Larch Hill say they are glad trees in their street are being dug up and replaced by Sheffield Council as they were damaging the pavement.

Tree felling in Sheffield.

Tree felling in Sheffield.

The comments came as the authority released the results of every household tree survey. The council says the responses show only a 'small minority' of residents disagreed with tree felling and replacement under the Streets Ahead programme with Amey.

Larch Hill resident Barry White said: “I’m fully supportive of the trees being replaced on our road. Many of them were pulling up the pavements making them impassable and dangerous.

“We all like trees but when they start damaging property and making the pavements unsafe, it’s a sensible decision to replace them with a tree more suitable for a residential environment.”

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The household surveys ask residents whether they agree or disagree with the proposals for tree replacement.

In Rustlings Road, where residents were woken by contractors at 5am one November morning, 91 per cent of those who responded to the survey disagreed with the council programme. Sixty-five of 103 homes responded.

However in some roads both the response rate and percentage of people who disagreed was much lower.

In Larch Hill, 14 of 89 homes filled in the survey, and just five - or 36 per cent - said they disagreed.

A number of residential roads had no responses, such as Coleridge Gardens in Attercliffe, Endcliffe Avenue in Endcliffe, and Chadwick Road in Richmond.

Cabinet member for environment Bryan Lodge said: “Our household surveys show that only a small percentage of residents disagree with our proposals for tree replacement and that the vast majority are supportive or indifferent.

"We also know that some of those who disagreed with our plans, did so because they wanted more trees on their street to be replaced.

“We want to be as open as possible with regards to this programme and have therefore decided to present the data in this raw format for the public to access."

Coun Lodge has repeatedly accused protesters who hold up Streets Ahead work of wasting taxpayers' money.

He added: “Protester action against street tree replacement in Sheffield has resulted in severe delays to the Streets Ahead programme and a rising cost to the Sheffield taxpayer.

“Furthermore, we also know that protestor action in recent months has resulted in works stopping on roads where we know residents are in favour of our plans.

"This activity is allowing for the actions of a small minority to overturn the wishes of the wider Sheffield population and is simply unfair.

“It’s important to reiterate that whilst we appreciate that people have strong feelings towards the programme and we support the right to peaceful protest, we also have a legal and lawful duty to complete these works for the benefit of residents across the city.

"There is a big difference between protesting and illegally preventing lawful work from continuing.”

Sheffield Tree Action Groups, or Stag, dispute the council's survey results. They say letters were sent in plain envelopes that could be mistaken for junk mail, and wording was ambiguous.

They also say those that do not respond may not necessarily agree with or be indifferent to the felling programme.

Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk to see the household survey results.

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