Free lecture: The Sheffield Street Trees debacle – an avoidable crisis


Lecture to students & staff at Sheffield Hallam University

The Sheffield Street Trees debacle – an avoidable crisis

From 5 pm on 6th December in the Charles St Building of Sheffield Hallam University in Room 12.0.06

The Sheffield street tree crisis continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Sheffield is renowned the world over as one of the ‘greenest’ and well-wooded industrial cities in Western Europe. Urban trees, and particularly street trees, deliver huge benefits to society and especially in parts of towns and cities where there are only limited greenspaces. One important function (of the many) is the delivery of flood mitigation and climate proofing.

However, the privatisation of local authority services, (see:, and responsibilities has triggered an unexpected crisis in its management of urban street trees – and this recently reached a new low with the misuse of Thatcherite anti-trade union laws to stop and arrest peaceful demonstrators simply trying to protect their roadside trees.

Furthermore, the consultancy report produced about ten years ago, and the recommendations of which have been used to justify the actions of Sheffield City Council and the private sector contractors, AMEY, has been misused and misquoted. The author of the report has now said that he never recommended anything on the scale of tree removal that the council have undertaken.

Local politicians of all parties are now very concerned about the issues and the actions.


Trees, and especially urban trees, do require management – but with plenty of TLC. At the outset of the problem I offered to help to provide advice to AMEY but that offer was refused.

In part through my own work with the tree industry, leading arboricultural practitioners have visited Sheffield to assess the situation. This includes the authors of the national policy guidance on urban tree management. Their comments and conclusions are damning.

Come along and find out more.

Next up – dams across the valleys!


Professor Ian Rotherham

*[Note: this event is primarily for our students but all are welcome to attend.]


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