24 March 2017
At the beginning of 2017, Sheffield City Council made a series of commitments to the people of Sheffield, including a promise to be more open and transparent when it comes to its street tree replacement programme.
As part of this commitment, the Council is now releasing a summary of the household survey results that show only a small minority of Sheffield residents disagree with plans for tree replacement on their street under the Streets Ahead contract.
Cabinet Member for Environment at Sheffield City Council, Councillor 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.
“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.”
Residents of Larch Hill in Handsworth spoke out in support of the tree replacement programme after the large trees on their street were causing significant damage to the surrounding pavement and properties.
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.”
Streets Ahead is a city wide highways maintenance contract between the council and Amey to upgrade Sheffield’s roads, pavements, street lights, bridges and other items on and around our streets.
The street tree replacement programme is only part of this contract and presents Sheffield with a unique opportunity to bring the roads up to standard and then maintain over a 25 year period.
Following three High Court challenges, a 2016 court ruling stated that ‘Sheffield City Council had taken considerable steps to keep the public informed of the programme and what it entailed, both generally and in neighbourhoods which were affected. The Independent Tree Panel (ITP) process gives those most affected – the residents of the particular streets -the opportunity to have their say.’
The household survey data can be viewed at Copy of All Household Survey Results