The trees are coming into leaf
2nd April 2015
AWA Tree Consultants: Growing with the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF)
9th July 2015

The Sheffield Chainsaw Massacre?

A recent campaign has been in progress regarding the proposed felling of 12 Lime trees along Sheffield’s Rustlings Road. I spoke with a local journalist about this subject and the story was covered in the Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telegraph as well as other regional papers and media. I tried to be reasonably balanced in what was said and think the newspaper article generally reflects this (at the very least, it was good to see the title ‘Chartered Arboriculturist‘  in the press!). However, as is often the case, the final newspaper article was limited by the word-count, which meant that parts of what was discussed was missed out.  As such, the full statement is given below: 
AWA: “Sheffield’s trees are special, they play an important role in making the city a great place to live and work. They provide us with a wide range of benefits, from improved health, air quality, wildlife habitats, and reduced flash flooding. Trees also increase property prices and retailers benefit from attractive tree lined shopping areas. My own research, published by the Forestry Commission, found that Sheffield residents with high nearby tree cover have a higher mental wellbeing than those with no trees; suggesting living near to trees may actually make people happier.
Our company’s work with Amey involved independently auditing their tree surveyors, to ensure only dangerous, dead or dying trees were to be felled; however, since this survey work, any trees moving kerbs out of line, or those considered as having ‘outgrown their location’ are now to be felled. Under this new criteria, up to half of Sheffield’s street trees could face the chop; a potential chainsaw massacre.
I believe that the arboriculturists within council’s trees team, and at Amey, do a difficult job and they do care about the city’s trees, but they are restricted by the wider policies regarding kerb misalignment and replacing larger mature trees with smaller ornamental species. Large trees do require ongoing maintenance to ensure they are healthy but this should not be viewed as a liability, rather a profitable management of a valuable asset.  
This program of tree replacement has been highlighted by the recent campaign to protect the lime trees along Rustlings Road, but this has been happening across the whole of Sheffield, and especially impacts more disadvantaged communities, who aren’t as mobilised to campaign about decisions to their neighbourhood in the way that more well-off communities do. So it’s important that the current campaign isn’t just to protect the 12 trees on Rustlings Road – it should urge the council to reassess the wider policy on tree removals. Sheffield’s streets can accommodate large trees and the benefits they bring are worth saving.”
I'm a Chartered Arboriculturist at AWA Tree Consultants Ltd. As well as detailing our recent tree survey and arboricultural consultant work, this blog includes wide ranging arboricultural musings, including tree facts, opinion and anecdotes on trees in human culture.

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