A PFI expert will be discussing Sheffield’s controversial highways maintenance contract with anti tree-felling campaigners next week.
Dexter Whitfield, director of the European Strategy Services Organisation and author of multiple reports about the negative effects of Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs), will be holding a workshop on the £2.2bn Streets Ahead contract between Sheffield Council and Amey which has involved the felling of thousands of street trees.
The event, organised by campaign group No Stump City, will take place on Tuesday from 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House on St James’ Street in Sheffield.
A spokesman for No Stump City said: “Dexter has been one of the leading critics of Private Finance Initiative deals and related privatisation schemes for several decades.
“Although he now resides in Ireland and will be travelling here specially for this workshop, Dexter lived for many years in Sheffield.”
The controversial felling of street trees has been part of the highways maintenance contract between Sheffield City Council and Amey, which started back in 2012.
PFI deals involve private firms funding the up-front costs of public projects, with the money paid back with interest over several decades.
The council entered into the PFI deal with Amey as a way of securing £1.2bn of Government funding to help pay for work which also involves improvements to roads, pavements and street lighting.
Tree-felling work in the city has been on hold since March following growing protests against the policy.