Protect street trees and resist ‘damaging’ PFI contracts: STAG manifesto

The Sheffield Trees Action Groups (STAG) have been asking candidates standing in the upcoming council elections to respond to policies presented in their street tree manifesto.

Protecting and improving street tree canopy and resisting PFI contracts are some of the policies Sheffield councillors have been asked to support.

The policies include protecting and planting large crowned street trees across the city, and resisting monopolies by private companies over public services.

The manifesto stated: “The democratic crisis over Sheffield’s Street Trees is the direct result of awarding long-term control of our streets to a multinational company, creating local monopolies that allow powerful big companies to control public services for decades.”

STAG also asked candidates and the city council to pursue every opportunity to withdraw from “damaging” PFI contracts.

“It is widely understood that PFI contracts create excessive costs for taxpayers as well as tying all parties into a complex contractual relationship where fear of compensation charges overrules concern for the public good,” the manifesto read.

Rebecca Hammond, a campaigner and ex-Co Chair of STAG, said the repose from parties has been variable.

“We can’t force them to get engaged with it but certainly many campaign supporters are interested in responses to the manifesto and are using them to guide how they vote.”

She asked people to think carefully about who they vote for.

“You might on a national level support one party, you really have to think whether they are best locally. And it is okay to vote differently locally and nationally.”