Experts in engineering, biology, ecology and plant management will gather next week for the first meeting of Sheffield’s new tree forum – where campaigners will continue their push for a new strategy on how the city’s street greenery is maintained.
The forum was established following a Sheffield Council debate, where councillors voted to take no action on a petition sparked by a protest against the proposed felling of 11 lime trees on Rustlings Road, near Endcliffe Park.
Despite the petition already having been handed in, names are still being taken, and it now stands at more than 11,000 signatures.
Because workers from council contractor Amey – responsible for the city’s Streets Ahead project – were redeployed to other areas of Sheffield following a decision to ‘pause’ the felling last month, it is understood the teams cannot return to Rustlings Road until September at the earliest.
At the meeting – happening at the Town Hall next Thursday at 5pm – the panel will debate Sheffield’s approach to managing highway trees and its ‘six Ds’ policy: removing trees which are dangerous, dead, dying, diseased, damaging the road or pavement, or causing an obstruction – classed as ‘discrimination’.
Streets Ahead’s method of announcing tree felling, and the list of species used for replanting, is also on the agenda.
Coun Terry Fox, the council’s cabinet member for environment, who will chair the forum, said: “The aim of these meetings is to enable a meaningful discussion and to promote a debate about the council’s approach to managing its highway tree stock.
“This will be a public meeting and members of the public will be able to ask their questions during the first hour.”
Louise Wilcockson, from the Save Our Rustlings Trees group, said: “The first thing we’ll be asking at the forum is where is the tree strategy and can we have one. We’re pleased the trees will be staying longer and we hope it will give us more time to put together an even stronger case.”
Meanwhile Coun Fox has revealed that a planned bus lane along Prospect Road and Myrtle Road in Heeley could be axed completely if the loss of 120 trees cannot be avoided to create the route.