Following a High Court injunction being brought against the council by Sheffield’s residents to stop the tree felling, Nick Clegg MP has slammed Sheffield City Council bosses for their reckless tree felling policy branding it a ‘national scandal’.
In an e-mail to Council Leader Julie Dore, Nick Clegg also challenges Sheffield City Council to show their working behind their bizzare claims that it would cost £26million to stop tree felling.
In the e-mail, Nick Clegg MP says
"When I helped to secure the £1.2billion of Government money to fix Sheffield’s roads, no one expected that money to be used by Sheffield City Council to chop down hundreds of healthy mature roadside trees against the wishes of the public. This project was meant to be good news for Sheffield but under your watch this has become a national scandal."
The full text is as follows –
I am writing to you once again to express my concerns about your Council's handling of the felling of Sheffield’s street trees.
In seven months, there have been countless protests and petitions which you have ignored as you have continued with the felling of many of Sheffield’s trees. You have had many opportunities to postpone the tree felling but it has taken a High Court injunction brought by Sheffield residents to force the Council to stop and think about its actions.
Now you plan to waste a considerable amount of tax payer’s money in fighting this injunction when this could have been completely avoided had you simply listened to the people of Sheffield in the first place.
I have also seen you quoted saying that it would cost £26 million to stop all of Sheffield’s trees from being felled. I understand that Liberal Democrat Councillors have asked for a breakdown of how your council arrived at this figure but to date you have been unable or unwilling to provide this. It concerns me that you felt confident enough to give this figure to the press without being confident enough to show your workings to Sheffield City Councillors.
I am asking that you publish a breakdown of this information and explain to the people of Sheffield how on earth it is possible that 200 trees will each cost up to £100,000 simply to be left alone. If you cannot substantiate this wildly implausible claim it would be a very serious matter indeed that the Council has chosen to disseminate misleading statistics to the public.
When I helped to secure the £1.2billion of Government money to fix Sheffield’s roads, no one expected that money to be used by Sheffield City Council to chop down hundreds of healthy mature roadside trees against the wishes of the public. This project was meant to be good news for Sheffield but under your watch this has become a national scandal.
I would urge you - once again - to admit that your Council has got this wrong and resile from the unjustified and unpopular programme of tree felling in Sheffield.
Nick Clegg MP”