‘Everyone’s trees are under threat’ - Sheffield campaigners’ final call to hit 5,000 petition mark and spark debate

Campaigners fighting to save trees in Sheffield
Campaigners fighting to save trees in Sheffield

Campaigners fighting to start a city-wide debate about how Sheffield trees are managed are today making a final appeal for people to back the battle.

The campaign began as a way to save 11 trees on Rustlings Road, by Endcliffe Park, from being felled.

Campaigners fighting to save trees in Sheffield

Campaigners fighting to save trees in Sheffield

It has now become a crusade for scrutiny of the way trees are dealt with by Sheffield Council contractor Amey through the Streets Ahead project - with around 4,500 people signing a petition.

Organisers need 5,000 names by Monday to trigger a debate in the town hall and so are urging people to sign up over this weekend.

Louise Wilcockson, spokesman for the Save Our Rustlings Trees group, said: “This is not a ‘not in my back yard’ issue - it is about the whole city’s green infrastructure, about everyone’s trees.

“At the moment everybody’s trees are under threat.

“We need to get some sort of policy scrutiny before it is too late. Sheffield is supposed to be the greenest city in Europe - we want to keep it that way.

“Once the trees are felled we can’t stick them back on with superglue, they’ve taken hundreds of years to grow, can be removed in an instant and take another hundred years to grow back.

“Please sign the petition because it’s not about saving 11 trees, we need to have a tree and woodland strategy.”

The Rustlings trees were due to be axed last week but a ‘pause’ is in place after the controversial plan caused a massive public outcry.

Streets Ahead says that of the 11 trees, ten need to be removed as they are badly damaging the pavement, while one is diseased.

Campaigners say they have wider environmental, community and health benefits. They are also angry that no consultation is held with residents when trees are to be cut down.

They have been backed by Sheffield singer Richard Hawley and experts.

Louise added: “The issue is that there should be appropriate consideration for the time period over which this happens, site preparation, consideration of effects on species abundance distribution, age class distribution, and design – taking account of size shape and distribution of canopy cover, so as to minimise impact on the range of ecosystem goods & services afforded by trees.

“In short, there needs to be a planned, systematic and integrated strategic approach – a tree strategy.”

A Streets Ahead spokesman told The Star that three complaints had been made in two years about trips and falls due to the tree roots on Rustlings Road.

They added: “We are in a difficult position because ten out of the 30 trees on this road are causing an obstruction on the pavement. One tree is diseased and does need to be removed. Although we are using sensitive engineering solutions to retain 19 out of the 30 trees on Rustlings Road, we want to explore all options to see if any of them would allow the remaining 11 trees to be retained.

“We have received a number of complaints of trips and falls due to these tree roots in the last two years.

“Included in these is someone who fractured a bone after tripping on the pavement near a tree we have noticed to be removed and a broken wrist, again attributed to the uneven pavements.”

A pause in work on Rustlings Road is in place and officers can been asked to look into any solutions that have not already been considered.

A decision will then be made.