Sheffield is home to around 4.5 million trees and 36,000 of these are street trees. As part of the Streets Ahead contract, the city’s street tree stock will be managed and maintained over a 25 year period to ensure a varied and suitable stock of street trees for generations to come.

An independent tree survey carried out in 2006-07 concluded that over 75% of the city’s street trees were mature or over mature and that only 5% were young trees. In 2012 we entered into the Streets Ahead contact which allocated funding to the maintenance of all of our roads, pavements, street lights and trees. This funding will help us prevent a catastrophic decline in our street trees and to maintain a healthy age profile across the city.

During the first 5 year of the Streets Ahead contract, around 5,500 trees were replaced on a one for one basis. 

The total estimated number of street trees to be replaced over the full contract period amounts to 0.3% of the city’s overall tree stock.

We want the best for Sheffield's street tree stock and firmly believe that replacing some trees as part of a managed programme is the best way of safeguarding the long term future of the city's street trees. Before Streets Ahead funding became available, unhealthy or damaging street trees were removed without being replaced.

Over the course of the next few years, by replacing selected trees with sturdy, suitable and disease-resistant young specimens, which are around ten years old, we'll see a street tree stock which is more robust, resilient and with an improved age profile than would have been possible prior to the start of the contract.

Find out more about our street tree replacement programme as part of the Streets Ahead contract through our myth-busting articles available in 'Supporting information' on the right.

Our new approach to street trees

We've worked with our contractor Amey and representatives of the Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) to develop a new approach to managing street trees. You can read our joint declaration on this new approach and read the updated street tree management proposals.

5 year Tree Management Strategy

As part of the Streets Ahead work, in 2012 we developed our 5 Year Tree Management Strategy.

This strategy outlines the Streets Ahead team's strategic approach to maintaining and managing the city’s street trees.

All street trees have been assessed by qualified tree experts who hold current professional tree inspector qualifications from LANTRA, the UK’s Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries. All Streets Ahead assessors are also qualified in arboriculture, with the team clocking up over 100 years' combined experience in this field.

All trees will benefit from further maintenance and other treatments including crown lifting, crown thinning, crown reduction and general pruning on an on-going cycle of maintenance, allowing them to continue to thrive in the street environment .

Replacing trees

The city’s street trees are assessed to establish their health and condition.

If a tree on a street is found to fall into the 6D criteria then our maintenance contractor, Amey, will seek approval for it to be replaced.

We are committed to replacing street trees on a one for one basis.

This means that for every tree that meets the 6D’s criteria and needs to be removed, it is replaced with a species of tree that is better suited to a street environment.

We are also replacing some of those trees that were removed before the Streets Ahead contract began which means that there will be an increase in the number of street trees at the end of the Streets Ahead contract in 2037.

Work we can't do

We are unable to carry out work where:

  • trees belong to private properties
  • falling leaves or fruit are causing an annoyance
  • falling blossom, sap or bird droppings are causing an annoyance
  • trees are blocking light or causing shade
  • trees are obstructing telephone wires (contact your telephone service provider)
  • trees are obstructing TV or satellite reception
  • we do not remove trees for construction or widening of driveways

Birds’ nests and bat roosts

We employ trained ecologists who check all trees before they are removed.

The ecologists will assess the tree before it is surveyed to establish if any birds are nesting in it or if any bats are roosting in the tree.

The trees are then checked again on the day the removal is planned.

The ecologist will attend site with the arboricultural team and visually inspect the tree as well as carrying out inspections in the canopy of the tree.

Independent Tree Panel

The Independent Tree Panel, was set up in 2016 to give advice on street tree replacement proposals where the majority of households who responded to the surveys disagreed with the proposals for their street. The panel have now provided advice on all referred streets and their work is complete.

The Independent Tree Panel received responses to the survey and the proposals for each tree on the affected streets, where 50% of the responses were against the council’s proposals.

The Panel provided its advice to us and then we determined what action to take in response. 

The Panel did not give advice about other aspects of the Streets Ahead programme, except insofar as advice about a tree or trees impacts on another aspect of a scheme’s design. 

The Panel’s advice can be found below, along with our response to that advice.

Council Decision on Vernon Road (13.04.17) and associated ITP Advice Letter

Council Decision on Trees (27.06.17) and associated ITP Advice Letters

Council Decision on Trees (01.08.17) and associated ITP Advice Letter