Protesters circle Town Hall in latest Sheffield tree demonstration

Tree protesters circle the town hall.
Tree protesters circle the town hall.
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Hundreds of people formed a human yellow ribbon around the Town Hall in the latest shot at Sheffield Council’s tree policy.

The ring of protesters circled the entire building on Saturday lunchtime as people from across the city gathered to show their opposition to the felling.

Many wore yellow clothes and some carried placards criticising the council and Amey, the private contractor which is cutting down some roadside trees as part of the Streets Ahead road repair programme.

The protesters fell silent at the chiming of the Town Hall bells at midday, before gathering at the front of the building to shout slogans and make speeches.

Russell Stearman, from Meersbrook, was there with his wife Nikki and two young children. He said the protest was about trees and the city’s wellbeing.

“The felling is happening and we have not been consulted enough, or early enough.

Hundreds turned up for the protest.

Hundreds turned up for the protest.

“It feels like the council is coming along and not being honest about whether it’s cost-cutting - are they doing it to make things cheaper for themselves?

“We are thinking about our children. It’s about the landscape they are going to grow up in, and their children are going to grow up in.”

Mrs Stearman said felling had been taking place where her she lives in Meersbrook, and also where her children go to nursery in Nether Edge.

“Look how many people have turned out on a cold January day,” she said. “They obviously care about it, and feelings are running high. I hope the council listens.”

Ian Kussell, from Totley, said the council’s attitude was the problem.

“There was so much trouble with Rustlings Road,” he said.

“Everyone has come down today - children, pensioners, the sick and disabled.

“I’m sure the protest is going to make a difference. Bryan Lodge (cabinet member for environment) is taking notice.”

More than 4,000 highway trees have been felled since the start of the Streets Ahead contract in 2012.

The council says about 3,000 have so far been replaced, and about 50,000 trees have been planted to create new woodland.

On Wednesday councillors rejected calls to cancel the contract on health and safety grounds.

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