Petitioning Sheffield City Council

Save the Millhouses Trees

We, the undersigned, refute the assertion that the felling of trees in Millhouses, Sheffield is necessary. Instead, we demand, and believe it imperative, that sensitive engineering solutions (1) be adopted and implemented to enable the long-term retention of these trees. Fourteen of these solutions are already incorporated in the £2.2billion contract with Amey PLC and would not cost the council any further.   

Evidence proves that trees contribute significantly to reduce air pollution (2), assist flood prevention (3), biodiversity (4), ecology (5): health and wellbeing (6) and through their beauty they enrich our lives.

So far over 5000 trees have been felled across the city, including eleven from Millhouses. Sheffield City Council (SCC) argue that the trees are damaging the pavements and roads and are therefore are "dangerous and/or discriminatory to disabled people and those using pushchairs". We believe the damage is minor and does not significantly impair accessibility for disabled people, or the use of prams and pushchairs. It is our opinion that sensitive engineering solutions, such as flexi-pave or slightly altering kerbstones, would represent two sustainable solutions to these perceived problems.  SCC also regularly assert that felling is the last resort, however they are not forcing Amey to implement the 14 solutions incorporated in the contract.

Loss of these trees would represent a significant loss of a valuable foraging resource for bees, bats, owls and many other insects and birds. Not to mention the emotional wellbeing of Sheffield’s residents.

SCC and Amey are planting small ornamental trees to ‘replace’ the mature trees. These are not a replacement. Young trees cannot provide the same benefits that mature trees can, its impossible. Many of these trees are over 100 years old. It is ignorant to suggest that it is possible to just ‘replace’ them. 

Millhouses is renowned as a leafy suburb.  With over 100 healthy trees to be felled imminently, will we still be able to say that by the end of this year?

References:

1) Trees and Design Action Group. (2014) Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery. TDAG http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-hard-landscapes.html

2) Karl, T., Harley, P., Emmons, L., Thornton, B., Guenther, A., Basu, C., & Jardine, K. (2010). Efficient atmospheric cleansing of oxidized organic trace gases by vegetation. Science, 330(6005), 816-819.http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6005/816.short

Escobedo, F., Kroeger, T. & Wagner, J. (2011). Urban forests and pollution mitigation: analyzing ecosystem services and disservices. Environmental Pollution, Volume 159, pp. 2078-2087.http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cluster=14928633190131047233&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

3) Trees and Design Action Group (2012). Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers, s.l.: Trees and Design Action Group.http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-the-townscape.html

Construction Industry Research and Information Association, 2013. CIRIA Research Project RP993: Demonstrating the multiple benefits of SuDS – A business case (Phase 2). Draft Literature Review. [Online] Available at: http://www.susdrain.org [Accessed 25 May 2015].http://www.susdrain.org/files/resources/ciria_guidance/ciria_rp993_literature_review_october_2013_.pdf

4) Ewers, R. M., & Didham, R. K. (2006). Confounding factors in the detection of species responses to habitat fragmentation. Biological Reviews, 81(01), p. 117-142. http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?cluster=1003233194462145743&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

Gilbert‐Norton, L., Wilson, R., Stevens, J. R., & Beard, K. H. (2010). A Meta‐Analytic Review of Corridor Effectiveness. Conservation Biology, 24(3), p. 660-668. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01450.x/full

5) Gonzalez, A., Rayfield, B., & Lindo, Z. (2011). The disentangled bank: how loss of habitat fragments and disassembles ecological networks. American Journal of Botany, 98(3), p. 503-516.http://www.amjbot.org/content/98/3/503.full

6) Sarajevs, V. (2011). Health Benefits of Street Trees, Farnham: Forest Research. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/INFD-8JCEJH

Williams, K., O'Brien, L. & Stewart, A.. (2013). Urban health and urban forestry: how can forest management agencies help?. Arboricultural Journal: The International Journal of Urban Forestry, Volume 35, pp. 119-133.http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03071375.2013.852358

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  • Sheffield City Council

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