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Street tree strategy agreed: Partnership includes Council and campaigners

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Photo by Daderot (Wikimedia Commons).

A new strategy for Sheffield's street trees has been agreed by Sheffield City Council and anti-felling campaigners, which is expected to be approved by the Council Leader on Thursday.

The Council say that the new strategy "recognises the essential contribution that street trees provide for health and wellbeing, air quality and other ecological and environmental benefits."

Other groups involved in the development of the strategy include Amey, The Wildlife Trust, The Woodland Trust and tree valuation experts.

As a group we wanted to produce something positive and visionary

Members of the strategy group have agreed on six outcomes which will guide the city's approach to street trees in future:

  • Sustainably and carefully-managing street trees in accordance with best practice.
  • Increasing the value and benefits that flow from street trees.
  • Contributing to a more equal distribution of urban forest across the city to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Increasing street tree canopy cover.
  • Ensuring street trees are more resilient through the type and age of trees we plant and also how we manage the current street tree stock.
  • Involving the wider community in caring for and valuing street trees.
  • The partnership is the result of mediated talks between the Council and representatives of the Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) which started in 2018.
"Assuming the strategy is adopted and implemented by Sheffield Council, Sheffield residents can be confident that their street trees will be protected, sustained, and increased in number," said Paul Selby of STAG.

"The benefits of this new and enlightened approach will be felt not just by current generations, but future generations too."

The strategy group have conducted a full survey of the city's existing trees and have assessed their benefit to the ecosystem using i-Tree Eco, a state-of-the-art open source software system.

"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," said chair of the strategy group Liz Ballard.

"This strategy aims to learn from the past in order to deliver our vision for the future of Sheffield's street trees."

Sam Gregory

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