THE STAR SAYS: Your voices have had an impact on trees

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Two weeks ago, it looked like the long-running debate on trees in Sheffield was set to draw to a close.

In a heated meeting, Sheffield Council voted to take no action on a 10,000 strong petition calling for a morotorium on felling and city-wide scrutiny of tree policy.

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It was an incredibly unpopular decision with those who had backed the petition, which grew like an oak from the acorn movement to save 11 trees on Rustlings Road next to Endcliffe Park.

Even former Labour MP David Blunkett said he believed that there was ‘room for compromise’, reluctantly disagreeing with party colleagues in the town hall.

And the vote seemed to mean that the trees on Rustlings Road could have come down at any point - so campaigners were preparing to stand vigil when the moment arrived.

Now it appears that there has been a small breakthrough.

The trees are unlikely to be axed for several weeks, possibly even September, and in the meantime a highways tree forum meeting has been rapidly organised to take place.

Next Thursday July 23 experts from across the city will take part in the discussions of council policy.

Nobody is saying that this means the existing trees on Rustlings Road will be saved forever.

But at least there will have been some meaningful discussions - and some proper time for campaigners to put their own ideas forward instead of what residents felt was an arbitary decision.

After the council decision was made, campaigners said it was about ‘what kind of city we want to live in’ and that was the question The Star asked its readers.

The answer was unanimous - a green one.

So we hope that anyone with an interest in the future of the city, and especially its trees, will go to the forum.

It may not be precisely what campaigners wanted but it is another way to make your voice heard.

As is shown today, it seems that the pressure of many voices from the protesters and the media coverage has had some positive effect.

The Star’s political reporter Ellen Beardmore will be part of the forum panel and so we will continue to follow the tree story right the way through to the end.

Due to this latest development, we will also be reopening The Star’s letters pages to those about trees from today.