Monday, March 26, 2018

First signs of Labour seeing sense over Sheffield's trees

Good news from the Yorkshire Post:
Sheffield Council has tonight blamed the “increasingly dangerous tactics” of campaigners as it confirmed controversial work to fell thousands of Sheffield’s street trees has been partly put on hold following growing street protests and major political pressure.
I suspect the political pressure has more to do with this decision than the tactics of the protesters:
A 73-year-old retired fireman was arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation of a security guard in relation to a previous assault allegation, while last week a woman was arrested for blowing a toy horn under the Public Order Act. The following day, a vicar carrying a tambourine and a woman with a pink recorder were arrested, one for obstructing the highway and the other on suspicion of obstructing a constable.
The mass felling of trees has been taking place because of a PFI contract with Amey negotiated by a previous Liberal Democrat administration and signed by the current Labour-led Sheffield City Council.

Shaffaq Mohammed, who leads the Lib Dems on the council today, is quoted by the Post:
"The street tree scandal has made Sheffield hit the national headlines for all the wrong reasons and I really think our city needs to move forward. 
"I hope Sheffield City Council uses this time wisely. We have a real opportunity to sit down and sort this out. They can’t just carry on business as usual after the pause. The way the council have handled the street tree situation really lacks trust and transparency. Sheffield City Council can now use this pause to sit down with tree campaigners to come up with a solution which works for the whole of the city. 
"I will continue to watch this closely to make sure we leave the bad headlines in the past. I really do hope this pause brings real change into how the council handles street trees."
This is a story I have tweeted about incessantly but have not mentioned on this blog before. Well done to everyone who brought about the political pressure that led to this pause in the felling.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

It's not that something went wrong.

It's that the council persists when everyone around gets upset.

It's when the council carries on without regard for citizens.

I wouldn't want to knock on doors for a tree feller.