EDITORS OPINION: Tree campaign will not be going away

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Sheffield to protest over the felling of trees in Sheffield.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Sheffield to protest over the felling of trees in Sheffield.
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When the first story about tree felling in Sheffield ran in The Star this year, nobody had an inkling it would still be a talking point seven months later.

That was back in May, when residents made a stand over the axing of trees on Rustlings Road, near Endcliffe Park.

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Row over Sheffield tree felling set to ramp up in 2016

Since then it has grown into one of the longest-running campaigns that most people can remember.

The replacing of trees as part of Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead contract has been protested before, but never to this dramatic extent.

For months The Star has been flooded with calls and letters about the issue.

The campaign has spread inexorably across Sheffield, from Endcliffe to Heeley, on to Dore and Crookes, Greenhill and Rivelin Valley.

There’s been national coverage too - Private Eye magazine even gave the campaign a mention.

Trees are close to the hearts of Sheffield residents, and quite rightly, as the city is branded as the greenest in Europe.

Residents fighting felling want the council to look at alternatives instead - and say the specimens they will be replaced with are no match for the benefits of mature trees that have stood on Sheffield streets for decades. The council insists that many need to be felled.

Other issues, of local authority transparency and accountability, have been dug out during the campaign.

Today it is confirmed that the campaign will be continuing - and potentially even ramping up a gear -into 2016.

Expect more protests and for the issue to become an election hot topic too.

“The campaign is very much going to stay in place all the way into 2016,” pledged Louise Wilcockson, of Save Our Roadside Trees.

“We will also look to explore our legal options, push for vital questions to be answered on behalf of our city’s people in a meaningful way and if they remain unanswered no doubt many campaigners will take direct peaceful action.”

Council chiefs say that work on a tree strategy - something that residents have long called for - will begin next year.

They have also confirmed that so far, 3,068 trees have been felled.

It is not known exactly how many will come down, but one thing is clear: this campaign really is not going to go away any time soon.