Sheffield is home to around 36,000 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 and which will help us prevent a catastrophic decline in our street trees.

Under the Streets Ahead contract, trees are only replaced if they are either dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, damaging footpaths, private property or roads or discriminatory by obstructing pavements.

During the first 5 year of the Streets Ahead contract, it is estimated that 6,000 trees will need to be replaced. Each tree will be replaced on a one for one basis. Ultimately, Sheffield will be able to enjoy more street trees with a diverse age profile for generations to come.

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

Find out all 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.

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.

We use qualified tree experts who have assessed all the street trees. All Streets Ahead tree assessors hold current professional tree inspector qualifications from LANTRA, this is 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.

Those trees that will benefit and thrive from further maintenance and other treatments including crown lifting, crown thinning, crown reduction and general pruning will be placed into a cycle of maintenance.

The trees that fall into our Tree and Woodland Strategy's 6D Criteria will need to be replaced as part of the wider Streets Ahead zonal work.

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.

At this stage the Independent Tree Panel process is triggered if that replacement is in current or forthcoming Streets Ahead zonal work.

The exception to this is if the tree is deemed to be an imminent danger to property or users of the highway network.

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

Removing mature trees

The majority of street trees that have been removed to date have fallen into either the dangerous, dead, dying or diseased category.

Sheffield has over 4 million trees across the city and the street trees make up less than 1% of the trees in the city.

Birds’ nests & 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.

Highway tree advisory forum

Anyone who cares about the trees on Sheffield’s streets can come along to the Highway Tree Advisory Forum meeting.

The forum has been set up to give people an opportunity to hear from a variety of experts from various fields from across the city to debate how highway trees should be managed.

Experts from the fields of civil engineering, arboriculture, the Wildlife Trust and biology/ecology professors make up the forum and debate relevant questions.

Independent Tree Panel

Survey letter

Households on streets where tree works are proposed will be sent a survey letter which will detail the works that are planned and ask residents to go online using a unique code to complete the survey to inform us about whether they agree with the proposals or not.

If residents do not have internet access, there will be details in the letter of how to get a paper copy.

The process

The Panel may only consider streets that have not yet been upgraded as part of the Streets Ahead programme (ie it has no retrospective role), and it can only consider whole streets (ie it cannot look at individual trees in isolation).

Residents will have 2 weeks from the survey opening to complete them. Once that particular survey has closed, all those completed surveys will be analysed and if 50% or more of the responses do not agree with the proposals, then these streets will be referred to the Panel.

The Panel will receive all the information about the proposals, the survey results and residents' comments and will then discuss all the relevant information and compile a report of their advice and provide this back to us.

The Panel will determine what evidence it needs. This may include:

  • results of the survey of households
  • reports on individual trees
  • oral or written evidence from residents of the street affected - the Panel will determine whether it wishes to receive oral evidence, although this will only be permissible from residents of the street(s) affected, and if so how it wishes to receive this evidence
  • oral or written evidence from ourselves and/or Amey

The Panel will provide its advice to us, and then we’ll determine what action to take in response. The Panel’s advice will be placed on our website, along with our response to that advice.

The Panel will 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. No timescales have been set as to how long the Panel can or should take to assess all the details.

Members of the panel

The impartial panel of experts who will sit as the Independent Tree Panel are listed below, along with an abridged biography.

You can email the Independent Tree Panel directly at

Andy Buck – Chair of the panel
Andy Buck is chief executive of Sheffield Citizens Advice. Previously an NHS chief executive, Andy has a background in social and community services. He is also non-executive director of South Yorkshire Housing Association and a trustee of Voluntary Action Sheffield.

Jacquie Stubbs – Chair of partners for Inclusion
Jacquie has lived in Sheffield all her life. She is Chair of Partners for Inclusion (the Sheffield partnership for people with physical, sensory and cognitive impairments), a member of the Right First Time Citizens Reference Group and Fairer Contributions Commission. She served as a member of the Sheffield Fairness Commission and has been involved in the voluntary sector, mainly with regard to disability issues and health for 25 years, including organisations such as the Access Liaison Group, the Disabled People’s Forum, Inclusive Living Sheffield, Community Health Forum and Voluntary Action Sheffield. She also served as a Non-Executive Director of the South West Sheffield PCT.

Phillip Duckett – Consultant at STS health and safety
Phillip Duckett has a background in building and general engineering. He has held a wide range of senior management positions in plant and machinery installation over a period of 38 years and his experience includes work in pharmaceutical, automotive, food and beverage industries. Phillip has over 15 years’ experience in health and safety and is a Chartered Member of IOSH (Institute for Occupational Health and Safety), having managed major health and safety of projects in Argentina, Turkey, Tunisia, France and Southern and Northern Ireland.

David Graham – Managing director of David A Graham Associates Limited
David Graham is the Managing Director of his own consultancy business David A Graham Associates (DAGA) Limited. Following a long career in both the public and private sector, David has himself conducted more than 800 road safety audits and assessments, and has also, through his company, worked on commissions both in the UK and overseas. Over 30 years David has gained substantial national and international experience and managed Home Zone development for Bristol City Council from 2002-05.

Andy Bagshaw – Arboricultural consultant
Andy Bagshaw is an Arboricultural Consultant and Team Leader at JCA Arboricultural Consultants. A fully qualified arboriculturalist with over 14 years’ experience working in arboriculture, he is responsible for providing professional and independent arboricultural surveys and advice for a number of sectors, including Local Authorities and Estate Managers, Architects and Developers, Homebuyers and Safety surveys for Homeowners and Landowners.

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

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