Why we all need to talk about Sheffield’s trees.

There is an increasing amount of prominent and professional ‘Tree people’ following the Sheffield tree campaign and I would keenly advise everyone and anyone in the industry or on the periphery, in the UK or abroad, to do so also . The facebook page for Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) has become a fascinating forum with many recognisable names popping up.

Many including myself often discuss the need for those in the Arb’ and Forestry industries to be communicating more. But what is the point if we are subject to a deliberate campaign to ignore all the work done, all the guidance and indeed even the legal framework under which we work?

This is why the Sheffield tree situation is so important to those outside of Sheffield and even outside the UK. It is not so much the trees themselves, indeed a significant proportion of the trees in Sheffield clearly needed attention and some felling was / is inevitable, but the manner it has been handled – particularly recently following an apparent backtrack in order to fulfill consultation requirements, which had been ignored for far too long.

The few statements being made public read like a compiled list of ‘tree myths’ in the urban landscape. Including the fantastic, if it wasn’t so sad, excuse to fell because ‘that tree will become dangerous when it dies?!?’ However these few random statements (and credit must be given to the council staff who have actually joined in on facebook threads), hide a deeply worrying procedure, which may or may not be sinister (again not the point), where a tree panel has been set up, meeting at least once already but which neither the members or the minutes are disclosed.

We can live with trees in built environment and we must. Innovative engineering combined with the traditional has allowed us to successfully live with trees in the most concrete of landscapes to the benefit of us all – not least the industry who depend on this for its very future! To be sidelined solely to the rural landscape is to accept failure – when we should be at the very forefront of sustainable development.

Arboriculture and Forestry are industries which join many, if not all, industries in being dangerously usurped by a system where media are politically obsessed. To speak to those who actually know what they are talking about means that these people have to expose themselves to the trolls, which now worringly and disgracefully includes the politicians themselves.

What is happening in Sheffield is a disgrace. This is not regressive but a whole new vision of how we may have to work in the future. The only positive being that this allows a direct link between the industry and the communities themselves and it is refreshing that local people are hunting the web and further for as much information as possible in regards their trees.

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2 Comments

Filed under Trees and Woodlands

2 responses to “Why we all need to talk about Sheffield’s trees.

  1. chrisrust

    Thank you for this and it’s great to know that people outside Sheffield are concerned. I live on a street where 10 of 11 healthy 100-year-old Limes are to be removed because they make it difficult to renew the road surfaces. However this is a very quiet road with minimal traffic and it just doesn’t need a heavy duty renewal. It’s one of many where our health-giving tree canopy is under threat.

  2. Reblogged this on HortusLudi and commented:
    This is a vitally important issue, both encouraging more planting & more thoughtful maintenance of trees in urban environments alongside the dangers of non-communication between councils & citizens. I also wonder if increasing budget constraints are resulting in departments taking longterm defensive action, removing possible ‘future problems’ before they occur – ie kill a tree before it dies & becomes ‘dangerous’.
    Do read this &, if you’re in Sheffield, join in.

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