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Woodland in Glen Howe Park
Woodland in Glen Howe Park

Town Hall Talks for Two Million Trees

Monday 15 February 2016

Sheffield City Council is asking members of the public to help it plan future care for 2.2million trees.

The council has been working on a framework for a new Trees and Woodland Strategy, which will set out how it looks after all trees in the city; including those in parks, woodlands, green spaces and on the highway. This follows the recent publication of the 5 Years Street Tree Management Plan which shows how 36,000 street trees are managed by the Streets Ahead project.

A full-day interactive event will be held at the Town Hall on Friday 26 February, at which members of the public will be able to view the draft framework and speak to members of staff. The draft strategy goes out for wider consultation in the Spring.

Councillor Sioned-mair Richards, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that the issue of trees is very important to communities across our city, which is why we’re organising the event in order to share our plans from the earliest possible stage.

“We 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 now want to liaise with members of the public to talk about future plans for trees and woodlands across Sheffield as a whole.

“Highway trees are part of this strategy and will be informed by the recently released Streets Ahead 5 year Tree Management Strategy. However street trees form a small proportion of the trees we manage, with the majority in parks, woodlands, cemeteries, housing estates and schools. I would encourage as many people as possible to come along, have their say and help to plan the future of trees in Sheffield: The Outdoor City.”

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.

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.

Coun Richards added: “This event is important because we need to plan ahead, taking into account views of members of the public, to see how our woodlands and trees across the city might look in the future.

“We are already known as the UK’s premier outdoor city, and the role of trees in our beautiful landscape is undoubtedly vital.

“The strategy will aim to address a wide range of tree-related topics including tree and woodland management, the current tree stock and distribution; age profile; a breakdown of species; 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.

“This is a real opportunity to help shape our plans from the outset, in conjunction with the council officers who will be driving our new strategy forward.”

The event on Friday 26 February will be a drop-in session at which people can call into the Town Hall reception rooms any time between 10am and 7pm to have their say, find out further details, and speak to staff.