Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield trees saved from felling after council U-turn

Tree felling in Sheffield Image copyright PA Media
Image caption There has been a long-running row in Sheffield over thousands of trees that have been cut down since 2012

Almost 200 trees which were due to be felled have been saved after a council U-turn.

A survey of 309 trees on streets in Sheffield has found 191 can be retained "on a longer-term basis".

Campaigners had risked arrest by standing beneath threatened trees in a bid to stop the felling and replacement programme that started in 2012.

The Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) said it was "frustrated" by the council's actions.

Felled trees had been assessed as either dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging or discriminatory and replaced with saplings under the £2.2bn, 25-year programme of works that has seen thousands of trees chopped down.

However, campaigners claimed many could be saved with amendments to surrounding kerbs and roads.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Campaigners argued some healthy trees could be saved with adjustments to pavements and roads

Work to fell trees as part of the Streets Ahead project was on hold for most of 2018 following the clashes between workers and campaigners.

However, plans to create a new tree strategy - drawn up between the council, contractors and campaigners - have now been completed and will go before the council's cabinet on 17 July.

Mick Crofts, from Sheffield City Council, said in addition to the 191 trees a further 26 required "bespoke solutions to be designed" but were "in principle" also "capable of being retained".

STAG co-chair Paul Brooke said the group felt "vindicated" but "incredibly frustrated about what has happened over the last few years".

"It's cost us thousands in defending campaigners who've risked prison sentences, but it's cost the council thousands upon thousands in legal expenses, taking us to court," he said.

"All they had to do was do what they've been doing for the last couple of months, if they'd have done it three years ago we never would have been in this situation."

Councillor Lewis Dagnall, of Sheffield City Council, said a specialist team made up of tree and highway specialists had "been exploring possible solutions to retain trees, considering all viable options and often carrying out suitable remedial works in the same day".

"The availability of alternative solutions, combined with adjustments to the council's specification around some trees, has allowed us to make significant and positive progress, with the support of all parties," he said.

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