Police 'reviewing' controversial use of trades union legislation to arrest Sheffield tree protesters

Police lead away tree protesters following their arrest in Chippinghouse Road, Nether Edge

Police lead away tree protesters following their arrest in Chippinghouse Road, Nether Edge

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Police are reportedly reviewing the controversial use of trades union legislation to arrest tree protesters in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Police arrested nine people in the space of a week earlier this month for trying to prevent trees being sawn down on a street in Nether Edge.

Two more people arrested last year have also been charged under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act and are due to go on trial next month.

But further felling planned for St Ronan's Road last week was postponed following a legal challenge by campaigners, who say a barrister has questioned the legality of the powers used and advised those arrested they may have a case to sue police.

Campaigners using the Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) Facebook page have shared a letter from the office of South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, advising them that the use of the legislation is under 'review'.

"The commissioner has been liaising directly with South Yorkshire Police regarding this matter who are currently working to review the use of the legislation as a result of the concerns that have been raised," the letter states.

"The force anticipate that this review will be complete at some point next week and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible following completion of the review process."

Protesters say there is no need to chop down healthy street trees, but the council say the trees being replaced are either diseased or are damaging roads and pavements.

A protest against tree felling is planned tomorrow (Sunday, February 19) in Vernon Road, Dore, at 2pm, where campaigners say there will be music, poetry and crafts.

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