17 May 2018

The new cabinet member responsible for the environment and street scene portfolio at Sheffield City Council is making the most of his first day in post by meeting with those involved in, and with views on, the Streets Ahead programme.

Councillor Lewis Dagnall, whose position on the cabinet was officially confirmed yesterday, will spend today meeting with and listening to all views on how the street tree replacement work, as part of the £2.2bn highways improvement programme, is having an impact on the residents of Sheffield.

Part of his day will involve meeting with front-line Amey workers at the Olive Grove depot, who are responsible for delivering the programme across the city, before he meets with tree campaigners at the site of the Vernon Oak in Dore.

The Vernon Oak, which has been marked for replacement, is causing damage to the surrounding road and pavement and discussions are currently ongoing between the council and Trees for Cities, who have offered to part-fund any associated engineering solutions to retain the tree.

Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Lewis Dagnall said:

“My first objective is to meet with and listen to as many people as I can, from as many stakeholder groups as possible, to gain a real and true understanding of the current situation with the tree replacement works and associated campaign.

“Only once I have an informed view will I then consider how we can move forward and start to rebuild some trust with the people in our communities.

“It won’t be straight forward and the views of residents from across the whole city has to remain a priority, but I fully accept that there needs to be compromise from all sides.

“What I do know is that the Streets Ahead programme is enabling us to have a highway infrastructure that we can all be proud of for the next 20 years. That means better roads, pavements and street lighting with an increased street tree stock.

“I hope that by listening to opposing viewpoints over coming weeks we will be able to take the right steps for those who live and work here and find a long-term, sustainable solution which will ultimately be advantageous for us all.”

Sheffield has around 4.5 million trees, of which about 36,000 are street trees. Around 5,500 trees, which were either dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, causing access issues or damaging surrounding surfaces and property have been replaced to date.

Street trees are assessed yearly by qualified arboriculturists as part of the Streets Ahead programme and each tree marked for replacement is subject to approval by the Council.

To find out more about the Streets Ahead contract visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/streetsahead