VIDEO: Council chief speaks out on today’s tree protest in Sheffield

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A council chief has held a press conference after police were called to a Sheffield street when campaigners attempted to stop trees being felled.

Simon Green, executive director of place for Sheffield Council, held a press conference at the Peace Gardens, city centre, at 3pm today over the latest saga over tree felling.

Simon Green, executive director of place for Sheffield Council, held a press conference at the Peace Gardens, city centre, amid the latest saga over tree felling. Photo Dan Hobson.

Simon Green, executive director of place for Sheffield Council, held a press conference at the Peace Gardens, city centre, amid the latest saga over tree felling. Photo Dan Hobson.

Contractors tasked with felling the trees in Bannerdale Road, Bannerdale, called South Yorkshire Police this morning when they were unable to reach a tree due to be felled.

Campaigners claim they were ordered to move away from the trees or face arrest.

Mr Green said: “We have every empathy for these residents and protesters in the city. However, we are where we are and the programme now has to move to the next phase.”

Heeley tree campaigner Dave Dilner, who currently has an appeal lodged with the High Court against the Streets Ahead contract, was at the protest.

He said: “Tomorrow my barrister is in court to request an interim injunction to halt the work.

“The council seem to think they won the legal case – but it has only just begun.

Mr Green would not comment about the court case.

Work to cut down 10 cherry trees om the street began yesterday, with protesters gathering to voice their concern.

The campaigners gathered again at 6am to try to halt the second day of felling, which is being carried out as part of the Streets Ahead project, which will see all Sheffield’s roads, pavements and streetlights upgraded.

Campaigner Anne Barr, from Nether Edge, said: “One resident was in tears because years ago she paid for a tree to be planted and now she is being forced to stand by and watch it being felled.

“We protested against the felling yesterday and managed to save three trees but they came back today earlier than before to try again.”

“We had to move away from the first tree we were trying to save in our none violent direct action because the police threatened us with arrest.”