A new strategy to develop a positive and visionary approach towards the care of Sheffield’s trees has been approved by the city council.
The Street Tree Working strategy aims to look into the health and well-being of trees around Sheffield, improve air quality and establish other ecological and environmental benefits for the city.
This comes five years after the Sheffield Tree protest, when residents fought back after thousands of trees were felled, for being ‘diseased or damaged’, but revealed to be healthy.
The decision came after 12 weeks of consultations in the last year by a group of partners, including Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG), Sheffield City Council (SCC), and Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust.
Councillor Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene at Climate Change at Sheffield City Council, said: “We live in a city famous for its greenery, something many of us are rightly proud of. We have almost five million trees covering our streets, parks and woodlands. That’s approximately eight trees for each person who lives here.”
“It’s not just about the number of trees we have; it’s about caring for them in the right way and maximising their many benefits whilst ensuring that our city can still develop and thrive in these times of continuous change.”
The strategy outlines new ways of working around six outcomes to ensure the city’s network of street trees is well-maintained and sustained for the future by:
- Sustainably and carefully managing our street trees in accordance with best practice
- Ensuring our street trees are more resilient through the type and age of trees we plant and also how we manage the current street tree stock
- Increasing the value and benefits that flow from our street trees
- Contributing to a more equal distribution of urban forest across the city to promote health & well-being
- Increasing street tree canopy cover
- Involving the wider community in caring for and valuing street trees
Liz Ballad, the Chair of the Sheffield Street Tree Strategy Development Group, said: “We set out to develop an exemplary Street Tree Partnership Strategy for Sheffield that values street trees for the benefits they bring to people, the city and the wider environment.
“As a group, we wanted to produce something positive and visionary – for the city to collectively view street trees as an asset, helping us to improve air quality, reduce flood risk, support wildlife and store carbon.”
Paul Selby, a STAG representative, said Sheffield residents can be confident their street trees will be protected, sustained, and increased in number. He believes this new and enlightened approach will be felt not just by current generations but also by future generations.