Tree felling in Sheffield defended by councillor

A senior Sheffield councillor has hit back at criticism of the local authority's tree-felling programme (HW, 22 January).

In a letter to local newspaper the Sheffield Star, Labour Party councillor Peter Price, chair of Sheffield North East Local Area Partnership, wrote: "To date 3,599 highway trees have been removed, almost all with the support of the local community, and 2,581 more suitable replacements have been planted, again with local support, and a further 1,100 will be planted before the planting season ends, which will leave us with more highway trees than at present."

But Save Our Roadside Trees representative Louise Wilcockson said the figures quoted by Price indicate that there has been a "speeding up, not halting as they have been suggesting" in the rate of felling. She said: "We are aware of an upsurge but we have difficulty ascertaining the figures, which the council seems to only give out to Freedom of Information requests."

Wilcockson added: "They aren't obliged to put new trees back in the same place - and they are putting in low-maintenance shorter-living trees with smaller canopies."

Campaigner Chris Rust, who set up the online Sheffield Trees at Risk Map, has found that of the 373 trees earmarked for felling last year, 61 per cent were healthy but were damaging pavements or impeding road surface work, but this figure rose to 85 per cent of larger trees more than 100 years old. "Nearly all of the big Edwardian trees are in good shape," he said.

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