Campaigners and Sheffield City Council chiefs face wait for ruling on tree protest injunctions
Campaigners and Sheffield City Council face a two week wait to hear if a High Court judge has granted injunctions against tree felling protesters.
The local authority is taking legal action over continued protests against the chopping down of thousands of trees in the city as part of a two BILLION pound roads and streets improvement programme.
The High Court in Leeds today heard the last of the evidence and legal submissions on the third day of the case.
Mr Justice Males said he would reserve judgement on the case.
His ruling is likely to be given in the High Court in London in around two weeks.
Mr Justice Males indicated that if he was minded to grant injunctions against protesters, it was likely he would not impose them immediately to allow campaigners to appeal.
The council is seeking permanent injunctions against the defendants and ‘persons unknown’.
Protesters object to widespread tree felling which is being carried out as part of the council’s Streets Ahead contract with Amey.
Sheffield City Council say campaigners are protesting inside safety barriers ‘unlawfully’ and as a result holding up work - which is costing the taxpayer money.
If the campaigners are served with injunctions and break them they will be in contempt of court, and could face fines or even prison.
The defendants’ claim the council had felled trees as it was the most profitable option under the contract and they had failed to explore other alternatives to chopping them down.
They also say the case is not just about the council’s decision to pull down thousands of healthy trees but the burden the local authority had been placed under by entering into a PFI contract with Amey.
The three defendants are Alison Teal, Green Party councillor for Nether Edge and Sharrow, Calvin Payne, a former civil servant, and retired actor Dave Dillner.
The council had initially sought injunctions against eight people.
The five other defendants have now signed undertakings and chose not to contest the matter in court because of the costs involved in the legal battle, which could be around £100,000.