Tree survey results 'unreliable', say Sheffield campaigners
Tree campaigners have accused Sheffield Council of using 'unreliable' survey results to justify tree felling.
The authority last week published the feedback from every questionnaire sent to homes to ask about work planned under the Streets Ahead contract.
The council said the responses showed only a 'small minority' of residents disagreed with tree felling and replacement.
In Larch Hill in Handsworth, for example, 14 of 89 homes filled in the survey, and just five - or 36 per cent - said they disagreed.
However in Rustlings Road in Endcliffe, where 65 of 103 homes responded, the percentage who disagreed with the felling was 91.
Members of Sheffield Tree Action Groups, or Stag, say the survey was flawed and the results do not reflect the true feeling in the city.
They say letters arrived in plain envelopes that looked like junk mail; that only one response per house was allowed; that information was too complex; and that some people were not able to respond online.
Campaigners who have conducted door-to-door surveys say the number of people who disagree with the Streets Ahead work is much higher.
David Glass said: “After the tree fellings on Chippinghouse Road I decided to do my own survey by knocking on doors on that street.
"Of 40 householders that I spoke to, 30 said they were against the tree fellings, and I obtained 40 individual signatures from residents who were against the replacement of healthy street trees.”
Chris Rust called the survey 'dodgy', adding: "We are looking at how we can take this forward to the the Office for Statistics Regulation as case of misuse of statistics and maladministration.
"I don’t know if this is deliberate deception or just incompetence but either way the result is fake statistics.”
Mr Rust said Stag did not oppose felling where there was a 'real problem', but said too many were being chopped down 'just to keep the kerb straight or because of very minor disturbance of footways'.
Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk to see the survey results.
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