July 15, 2018

Isuzu

Rare butterfly halts felling of elm tree in Sheffield

Butterfly

The White-letter Hairstreak butterfly has temporarily saved a threatened elm tree in Sheffield, that the council wanted to fell due to an apparent risk posed to the highway. The threat of felling to the elm is due to Sheffield’s controversial Streets Ahead initiative.

The council stated that the tree with be retained “for a number of months” in order to move the butterfly.

The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said it remained opposed to the tree being felled.

The White-letter Hairstreak butterfly declined in the 1970s when its foodplants were reduced by Dutch Elm disease. They are difficult to spot, living at the tops of elm trees throughout England and Wales.

Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment said: “Due to the deteriorating condition of the tree, we now have to carry out pressing safety work to tackle extensive decay in the tree to ensure public safety.”

Material pruned from the tree will be stored and then searched by hand by experts for butterfly eggs, Mr Lodge said.

Liz Ballard, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s chief executive officer commented: “In the interests of securing the best outcome for wildlife, we have decided to assist with the council’s butterfly relocation plan, involving our staff who have previous experience of White-letter Hairstreak egg relocation.

“We hope this will help to improve the chances of success for securing a future for the butterfly colony.

“We will continue to call on the council to re-assess and reconsider the need to ultimately fell the Chelsea Road elm tree.”

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