Halt to Sheffield tree felling is ‘victory for the common man’

Dave Dillner next to trees under threat in Greenhill they feel should be saved
Dave Dillner next to trees under threat in Greenhill they feel should be saved
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The man who has stopped trees being axed in Sheffield says the High Court ruling is proof that people power is stronger than the people in power.

Campaigner Dave Dillner is celebrating a ‘victory for the common man’ after being granted a High Court injunction, banning Sheffield Council and contractor Amey felling trees for three months.

Sarah Lagden, Dave Dillner, Karine Zbinden and Ann Anderson next to a tree on Devonshire Road, which was due to be felled

Sarah Lagden, Dave Dillner, Karine Zbinden and Ann Anderson next to a tree on Devonshire Road, which was due to be felled

The 69-year-old has even put his name to the legal challenge, meaning he is personally – and financially – responsible should the bid fail.

Mr Dillner, of Heeley, said: “I am proud to have stuck my neck on the line with this legal challenge, it is an honour.

“The level of thanks and gratitude from the people of Sheffield has been overwhelming, we have been steam-rolled by the council for too long now.

“This is a victory for the common man. I’ve been saying right from the start – if we stand together united, the power of the people is always going to be stronger than the people in power.”

Retired Mr Dillner launched the legal challenge against the council at London’s High Court last week, requesting an urgent halt to the felling until a judicial review takes place.

Campaigners raised almost £6,000 in just 12 hours to fund the legal challenge. Their total now stands at more than £9,000 – collected in just four days.

Mr Dillner said: “We never, ever wanted it to come to this. We still believed as late as Wednesday that the council would see sense due to the strength of our argument.

“But nothing has changed at all. People were annoyed that, not only were our concerns not listened to, but the council accused campaigners of driving a van at Amey workmen.

“We have always been a peaceful campaign. If somebody has actually done that, and I’m not sure, then they would not be welcome in our campaign.”

Mr Dillner wanted to make clear that, even though the challenge is in his name, it was the result of hard work from many people involved in the campaign.

He sent a special thanks to campaign barrister Charles Streetham.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said the authority was still deciding whether to challenge the inunction.

Coun Terry Fox, cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We received a Claim for Judicial Review and injunction late on Friday and have halted all tree felling whilst the injunction is in place. 
“We were not notified of the proposed application to court before it was submitted and the court order was passed without our position being heard. Our lawyers are now considering the appropriate action in regard to challenging the court order, which will take a few days.

“We hope to settle this matter as soon as possible.”

A total of 3,388 trees have been felled in Sheffield as part of the Streets Ahead work by Amey – but the council says 3,618 will be planted, although they are often not in the same spot. Thousands more are earmarked to come down.