This morning, Sir Mark Lowcock, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into the Street Tree Dispute, published his report. Labour welcomes the publication of the report and thank Sir Mark and his team for their efforts and diligence in producing a detailed, comprehensive report that will support truth and reconciliation and the continued healing of the city after this difficult and damaging period in our city’s recent past.

As per the terms of reference, Sheffield City Council and councillors received a copy of the report at the same time as it was issued to the public. We will now take some time to read and digest the findings of the report and will respond to the findings and recommendations made in due course.

Below is the initial response from Labour Council Leader Terry Fox:

“I want to thank Sir Mark Lowcock, chair of the Independent Inquiry into the Street Tree Dispute. One of the first commitments I made when I became Council Leader in May 2021, was for this inquiry to take place to find truth and reconciliation to ensure better and more transparent working for the council.

“What is clear is that significant failings were undertaken by the council from 2007 to 2018. On behalf of the council and my party, I am deeply sorry for the tree dispute and that mistakes were made. This was a very sorry chapter in the council’s history that we cannot shy away from. I believe it’s important to acknowledge mistakes and make sure you learn from them.

“I will push for all of Sir Mark’s recommendations to be adopted in full. What’s required now is time to fully process and reflect on the report, and understand how we can best implement all of the recommendations.

“We have made some progress in the work we’re doing and it was telling that the report noted the achievements and change over the last five years, including the successful work of the Sheffield Street Tree Partnership.

“We’ve also set up Local Area Committees to ensure closer working with the council and our neighbourhoods, to identify and act on local issues, and our on-going governance review will deliver better council governance, building on the work of the newly implemented committee system.

“However, there remains a lot more work to do, to regain the trust of the people of Sheffield. We are committed to ensuring Sheffield Council has the highest standards and robust processes that the people of Sheffield deserve”.

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