Sheffield City Council has said that tree-felling work in the city is to be paused, LGC’s sister title New Civil Engineer reports.
The tree felling is being carried out by Amey under its 25-year £2.2bn Sheffield Streets Ahead highways maintenance contract.
Sheffield City Council said tree-felling work will be restricted to dangerous trees during a “review period” while the contractor Amey explores “options for completing the work”.
The council says only trees which are dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging footpaths or properties, or “discriminatory” – for example by obstructing wheelchair users – will be felled under the programme. The felled trees will be replaced at the same spot or nearby. However campaigners against the felling believe trees are being unnecessarily cut down.
A response to a freedom of information request published earlier this month revealed that 17,500 trees could be removed, however the local authority insist that the figure is not a target and that 10,000 trees are set to be felled.
A Sheffield City Council spokesperson said: “Since 2012 we have been carrying out the biggest investment Sheffield’s highway network has ever seen, resurfacing the majority of roads and pavements across the city.
“However, in the past year or so the actions of a handful of people unlawfully entering the safety zones where tree replacement work is being carried out has meant that it has become increasingly difficult for Amey to complete the programme without danger to staff and members of the public.
“Given the increasingly dangerous tactics that have been seen in recent months, Amey have had to employ security staff at tree replacement sites.
“In the interests of both residents and staff, Amey are exploring options for completing the work and will present these options to the council. During this review period, only trees which are dangerous will be worked on.
“Any necessary emergency work will continue to be carried out in this time and the wider programme will resume once this review is complete.”