Home » News » Sheffield residents invited to have their say on new trees and woodlands strategy
Councillor Mary Lea, Dave Aspinall and Jerry Gunton with the Iron Man in Bowden Houstead Woods, Sheffield
Councillor Mary Lea, Dave Aspinall and Jerry Gunton with the Iron Man in Bowden Houstead Woods, Sheffield

Sheffield residents invited to have their say on new trees and woodlands strategy

Friday 30 September 2016

The Iron-Man stands in Sheffield’s Bowden Houstead Woods, a lasting reminder of the important role the city’s trees and woodlands played in Sheffield’s industrial revolution. And today, as consultation launches on Sheffield’s draft trees and woodlands strategy, they are just as important. Members of the public are invited to have their say and help shape the future for the city’s trees and woodlands.

Sheffield City Council’s Countryside and Environment service has been working on the draft strategy, following a consultation event in February where residents gave their views to help shape how all trees in the city are managed; including those in parks, woodlands, green spaces and on the highway. The new draft document sets out the vision, aims and actions to manage the city’s trees and woodlands for the next 15 years.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are one of the greenest cities in Europe and are responsible for over two million of Sheffield’s trees – that’s four for every person – in around 2,000 open spaces across the city.

“We know how important our green spaces are to our residents and people are using them in so many different ways now. They are an adventure playground for families, a collision of nature and technology for the Pokemon hunters, the place where dogs fetch sticks, where our runners find their pace and our strollers find some space. We need to make sure they are managed in the right way for everyone.

“We have some very clear aims within the strategy; we will plant two trees for every one removed, we will plant more trees in the areas that have fewer woodlands, with access to better data we will plan and manage our trees much more effectively and we will continue to find ways of managing our woodlands sustainably. Better still we have aspirations, to plant a tree for every baby born in the city each year, that’s around 7000, and watch them grow together, and be explored and enjoyed for many generations to come.”

Sheffield is one of the most wooded cities in Britain and data from The Woodland Trust shows that more people in Sheffield live closer to woodland than in any other UK city. These woodlands have been important to people throughout the ages – indeed, the steel industry was founded on the charcoal produced in the city’s woodlands and the Iron-Man stands in Bowden Houstead Woods as a lasting reminder of this.

Since the 1900s these woodlands have been seen as an escape from the bustle of city life and as important places for recreation, wildlife and heritage.

To maintain trees in terms of health and public safety, the council has a Tree Risk Management policy. This involves checking around 360,000 trees on a cyclical basis – particularly those in falling distance of people and property – to ensure they are safe.

All Sheffield City Council woodlands are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, which means that they meet an international standard of sustainable woodland management. Two woodlands – Ecclesall and Wheata – have also gained Green Flag status.

The strategy addresses a wide range of tree-related topics including tree and woodland management; bio-diversity; tree planting; the character of Sheffield’s woodlands; archaeology; the outdoor economy; tourism; employment; health and wellbeing; community engagement; education; countryside recreation; interpretation and much, much more.

Some of that data will come from the I-Tree Survey, which measures tree cover and species, giving a more accurate picture of the city’s tree cover. This data will help to inform better planning and management of trees and woodlands throughout the city.

Cllr Lea added: “The role of trees in our beautiful landscape is undoubtedly vital and in order to maintain that we must plan ahead.

“In Sheffield we are lucky to have access to 180 woodlands all across the city, not just in one or two areas, so it’s important we hear from as many people as possible. I would encourage everyone to get involved because this affects us all. Please have your say and help us set out how we manage our trees and woodlands for the future.”

The consultation launches on Friday 30 September for a period of two months, until Thursday 1 December 2016. People can read the draft strategy document plus other supporting documents, and complete the survey at https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/place-planning-1/trees-and-woodlands-strategy-consultation. The draft strategy document is also available at www.sheffield.gov.uk/parksandcountryside.

All feedback will be analysed and considered to help inform the final strategy document, which will be released for implementation in 2017.

If people need an alternative way to provide feedback or have any questions they can contact parksandcountryside@sheffield.gov.uk or call 0114 2500500.