Jeremy Corbyn: please mediate the Sheffield trees crisis.
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For the last few years there has been an escalating dispute between Labour controlled Sheffield City Council (SCC) and thousands of tree campaigners. Almost daily the conflict has become more bitter and protracted. There have been arrests, litigation in the criminal and civil courts, and widespread national media coverage of the issue. Even Michael Gove The Secretary of State for The Environment wrote to SCC requesting that the felling programme, which has so far claimed about 5000 trees, be stopped. SCC emphatically rejected this request.
The Sheffield trees crisis has developed as a result of a £2.2 billion Private Finance Initiative contract between SCC and Amey, a multinational service provider. A consequence of the resultant 'Streets Ahead Programme' is that many mature street trees have been felled unnecessarily. Feelings are running high on both sides and there has been little constructive dialogue between the parties. Most recently (24 August 2017) a mistruth widely disseminated by SCC - that the cost of delays due to protests were being borne by taxpayers instead of Amey - has been exposed by a newspaper article.
In order to abate this spiral of conflict, the two sides urgently need to sit down in order to examine their differences and consider possibilities. A respected and skilled person should, at the very least, be offered the opportunity to mediate this situation so that resolution might be sought. In this respect, in conversations and discussions across Sheffield, one name keeps cropping up: Jeremy Corbyn MP, the leader of the Labour Party.
Mr Corbyn is widely seen, even by his detractors, as a person of integrity and political principle. He is a committed parliamentarian whilst also a supporter of active citizenship. With these qualities he might command the respect of both parties in this dispute.
So I say to Jeremy Corbyn, help us: please mediate the Sheffield trees crisis.
I say to anyone else who cares about the environment, local democracy and the future of Sheffield: please sign this petition.
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