4 November 2015

An independent panel is to be set up in Sheffield to look at the issue of highway trees across the city.

Sheffield City Council has taken steps to set up the panel following concerns around the future of a number of trees in the city.

The panel, which will be chaired by Andy Buck, will consist of a team of impartial experts who will give their advice on issues relating to highway trees.

As part of the Streets Ahead project, when upgrading works which affect trees are identified, the residents who live on streets with trees on them will be sent a survey. This survey will establish the residents’ views about the proposals for individual tree lined streets. If more than half of the residents responding to the survey about their street raise objections about the proposals for the trees, then the proposals for works will be referred to the Independent Tree Panel.

The panel will convene and take into account all the available evidence, including the views of residents and then provide advice to the Council about the proposals for work.

Cllr Terry Fox, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “People are rightly passionate about trees across the city and we recognise this. We only ever recommend taking out dead, dying, dangerous, diseased or damaging and obstructing trees. The independent panel will provide impartial advice to the Council having taken account of all the evidence, including the views of local residents, which I hope will reassure people. The council will listen carefully to the advice of the panel before making any final decision. We are prepared for them to tell us that we might need to think again.

“We have always said we want to put people’s views at the heart of our decision making and the establishment of this independent panel we hope will ease any concerns people may have.

“We are committed to Sheffield as a green, outdoor city and work hard to retain as many street trees as possible. I am delighted that Andy Buck has agreed to chair this panel.”

The focus of much of the trees campaign has been Rustlings Road trees. These trees will be considered by the Independent Tree Panel; however a date for this has not been set.

Andy Buck, new Chair of the Independent Tree Panel, added: “I am pleased to have been asked to chair this Independent Tree Panel.

“I hope that this Independent Panel can help with the debate being had across the city about trees and that we can really get to hear residents’ views about this. I hope people will recognise our independence and impartiality and that this goes a long way to helping ease any concerns.”

Further details of the Independent Tree Panel will be confirmed in the coming weeks.