Tree felling in Sheffield criticised by consultant

An arboricultural consultant with more than 40 years of industry experience has attacked Sheffield City Council's tree strategy in a report to be presented to the High Court as it considers the local authority's bid to overturn an injunction preventing it felling any more street trees.

Brian Crane's report says the strategy "contains no overarching vision" and has "no recognition of work that shows how trees and other green-space elements impact positively on human health and well-being" or of "the ecosystem service benefits provided by trees" including the removal of airborne pollutants and storm water run-off.

"They won't engage on these subjects," he told HW. "A lot of the problem seems to come from the council being dug in politically. I have written tree strategies and they are mostly around 50 pages. This is 17 pages and contains no strategic thinking. Councils such as Sheffield are 20 years behind."

He added that the council's tree survey "earmarked mature trees as having to be felled, but a large tree can be mature for hundreds of years", and said a "safe useful life expectancy" should be reckoned for each tree depending on its species.

Last week Crane surveyed around 40 of the city's trees scheduled for felling by the council's contractor Amey, to prepare a witness statement. "A couple ought to come down but some had 50 years of life left in them," he said. "You don't have to fell trees to repair a footpath."

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