The controversy that surrounded the decision to fell thousands of trees in Sheffield is still being felt. Even though these trees were replaced with saplings, many people believe that this was the wrong move. The fact that police officers and security guards have been used to support the work, being undertaken against a backdrop of protests has only made the situation worse for some people.
There has also been the intervention of Sir William Worsley, the Tree Champion, and he is calling for a greater standard of protection for the street trees of England. Worsley is involved with the launch of the Urban Tree Manual, which will offer guidance for local councils on how to best deal with these matters in the future.
A lot of people have strong opinions on this matter
Sir William is also the Chair of the National Forest Company and given that he resides in North Yorkshire, it is no surprise that he had plenty to say with respect to the incident in Sheffield.
He said; “Whether they’re rooted in countryside woodland or in urban cityscapes, trees make our environment more attractive and a healthier place to live and work – which is why expertise in the planting and maintenance of urban trees is vital. I hope this Urban Tree Manual will help to improve decision-making around the country to make sure our invaluable trees are preserved now – and for future generations.”
While it is easy to take trees for granted, there are many people who love them and who understand the important role they play in the grand scheme of life. Sir William continued by saying; “It’s clear to me just how passionately people feel about trees. And perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in Sheffield, where the strength of feeling from local residents about their cherished green spaces has been unprecedented in scale. These residents have not only raised concerns about the sheer number of trees being felled locally but importantly in the way this has been carried out – without proper consultation and without taking into account their concerns.”
There are times when trees must be removed
While most people would appreciate trees always remaining in place, there are times when trees must be removed. When trees are dead but still standing, when they are deemed to be dangerous or when they would impede on development work, there is an argument for trees to be felled.
However, you cannot be shocked if the Trees Champion spends time and makes the effort to demand practice is carried out when trees are felled.
The Government is undertaking considerable work in this area and the Urban Tree Manual is just one of the ways that the Government is protecting trees. The commitment to plant one million trees in UK towns and cities, while also planting eleven million trees around the world, in the course of the current Parliament is a big step. Mind you, some people will question how long this Parliament will last, which may make it difficult to achieve this goal.