As previously promised and following detailed review, more of the Streets Ahead contract will be released today.
Since 2012, the Council has worked with Amey to release contract sections which are not bound by confidentiality as commercially sensitive, and these have long been available for viewing on the Council’s website.
In 2017, a review was undertaken and now sections previously redacted, are being published.
In conjunction with a request from the Information Commissioner, parts of the contract which contain the performance standards, will now be available online.
Cabinet member for Environment and Streets Scene at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Bryan Lodge said: “It has taken longer than we would have wished, but it was always our intention to release more of the Streets Ahead contract in the wider public interest, through a structured, phased approach and we have been working since April 2017 to achieve this.
“One of the things people will see is that the contract allows for the replacement of up to 17,500 highway trees.
“Over the last two years, the Council has been asked many times about the number of trees that will need to be replaced over the life of the Streets ahead contract. In the first five years we have upgraded around 65% of the roads and have replaced around 6000 trees in that time, including trees that required urgent replacement, sometimes on streets yet to be improved.
“It has always been, and remains, difficult to estimate an exact final figure for the number of trees that will need to be replaced, as tree condition will vary with time, but the figures to date demonstrate that our tree replacement work is not driven by a need to replace a set amount of street trees, but by a measured and restrained approach which guarantees our street trees will flourish in the future.
“Any suggestion that 17,500 trees is a target or a requirement is an incorrect interpretation of the contract, and indeed the High Court was clear that the ‘objective of the council has been to retain trees where possible.’
The contract wisely gives the ratepayer ‘insurance cover’ to ensure we aren’t vulnerable to long term risks as the health and impact of our street trees continue to change over time. If for any reason, such as major disease outbreak, the council has to replace a number of trees it can do so without any extra cost to the Sheffield ratepayer.
“However, the council continues to aim to minimise the number of trees being replaced.
An independent survey as long ago as 2007 showed that 75% of our street trees were found to be mature or reaching maturity. The replacement trees will help shift the balance towards younger, more diverse street trees which are not causing damage to the highway or private property and causing accessibility problems. What’s more, given we are unable to predict how major potential outbreaks of disease may affect our tree stock in coming years, the diversity of species will help to protect against this. .
The Streets Ahead highways programme will see the upgrade of Sheffield’s roads, paths and street lighting and ensure they are maintained to a standard expected of a modern-day city.
In 2017, the National Highways and Transportation Survey which asks people how satisfied they are with local Highways and Transportation services, showed that Sheffield City Council scored higher than the national average for the condition of pavements and footpaths, street lighting and highway maintenance, all of which are managed under the Streets Ahead contract.
In addition, it showed that satisfaction with the condition of the city’s roads has doubled since 2010 and shown the biggest increase of any other participating local authority during this time.
To find out more about the Streets Ahead programme or to view the Streets Ahead contract visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/streetsahead
NOTES: while the total number of trees to be replaced through the whole lifetime of the contact is difficult to estimate, it is believed that the total will be around 10,000.