BTC/112/2016 - Highways trees and people: Sheffield’s secret shame. The AA Arb Magazine (Spring 2016)
In Jeremy Barrell’s previous article on trees and highways, he focused on barriers to planting new trees, concluding that a simple cost/benefit model was needed to credibly articulate that tree benefits over time significantly outweigh the costs. In this follow-up article, he turns his attention to the premature removal of street trees to reduce short term maintenance costs at the expense of long term benefits to local communities. It seems that unscrupulous urban managers around the country may be ignoring government advice to be tolerant of low levels of infrastructure damage and, instead, are using the merest hint of damage or inconvenience as justification for wholesale tree removals. There is accumulating evidence from around the UK that such a “zerotolerance” approach may be more widespread than first thought, and that premature street tree felling as a standard means of balancing the books could be turning into a national trend!