CHEERFUL yellow ribbons are wrapped round tree trunks on Ladysmith Avenue in a well-to-do suburb of Sheffield. But the decoration is for a wake, not a party. The ribbons are a colourful reminder by protesters that ten of the 11 lime trees on the avenue are set to join 6,000 others in being chopped down as part of a £2bn ($2.6bn) private-finance initiative agreed by Sheffield city council with Amey, an infrastructure group that is part of a Spanish construction company, Ferrovial.
The 25-year deal ranges from potholes to lamp-posts, but it is the fate of the city’s 36,000 roadside trees that has triggered a year of suburban warfare between residents, the council and Amey. Plans to replace established avenues featuring lime, elm and oak with saplings have met strong resistance. This has led to arrests, court cases and low-speed car chases. Cars tactically parked beneath condemned trees or protesters standing below have reduced the…Continue reading