The Yorkshire Post says: Why the secrecy? Trust erodes over Sheffield tree scandal

EVEN after the full and belated release of previously redacted official documents which state, clearly, that 17,500 trees are due to be felled as a result of Sheffield City Council's 25-year PFI highway maintenance deal with Amey, the obfuscating local authority still can't be straight with people.

Police and tree protesters clash in kenwood Road, Sheffield, last week.

Instead Bryan Lodge, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, claims that “any suggestion that 17,500 trees is a target or a requirement is an incorrect interpretation of the contract” and that it “remains difficult” to estimate how many trees will be chopped down.

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If so, why the secrecy? Is he suggesting that the wording his council’s contract with Amey is incorrect? Such insincerity, at a time when South Yorkshire Police is being urged to justify its handling of tree protests, only serves to erode trust still further. After all, 17,500 trees is nearly half of the total number that have taken root, and stood tall in this self-proclaimed ‘outdoor city’, for decades and longer.