Sheffield MP demands answers over early hours tree felling

Police officers in Rustlings Road today
Police officers in Rustlings Road today
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Sheffield MP Nick Clegg has demanded answer from police and council chiefs over the early morning tree felling operation in Sheffield today.

He labelled the 5am operation in Rustlings Road, Endlcliffe, as 'an embarrassment for Sheffield' and said it was 'painting the city in a bad light'.

Tree fellers, with 12 police officers for protection, began felling before dawn.

Mr Clegg has contacted Sheffield Council Leader, Julie Dore and Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, over the felling, following complaints from residents who claimed they were woken up at 5am to the sound of chain saws cutting down trees.

Others claimed they were woken up from their sleep and asked to move their cars to allow tree felling machinery to move onto their street.

In his letter, Mr Clegg asks whether it was a police or council decision to start the tree felling while residents slept.

He also asks about the cost of the operation and what steps were taken to notify residents of today's tree felling plan.

The MP also asks whether the use of Trade Union legislation aimed at preventing the restriction of work can be defended.

He said: "I have corresponded with the council many times over the last year in protest at the unnecessary felling of hundreds of mature trees across Sheffield.

"These trees are loved by residents in Sheffield and quite rightly people have campaigned against your actions.

"However, whether you think the trees need to come down or not, the way the council have acted is inexcusable.

"It surely cannot be right that this felling has taken place at 5am without the prior knowledge of local residents?

"Many tell me that they were rudely woken from their sleep and ordered to move their cars.

"I call on you to put a stop to this unnecessary action and to apologise to local residents for the underhand tactics that you have employed."

Sheffield Council claims the timing of the felling operation was made on advice from South Yorkshire Police based on 'ensuring public safety'.