Hundreds of protesters chanting ‘Save our Trees’ gathered for a march across Sheffield city centre against controversial tree felling.
Campaigners walked from Sheffield City Hall to the Town Hall as part of the peaceful mass rally on Saturday.
Campaigns have sprung up across the city in the last few months over the replacement of trees by Sheffield City Council’s contractor Amey and a 10,000 strong petition sparked a council debate.
The Sheffield Samba Band created a party atmosphere before experts addressed the crowds. Schoolboy Shaheryar Chishty, aged 10, who was inspired to write a moving poem about the campaign, was first to speak.
Other speakers included Rob McBride, who is known as the ‘Tree Hunter’ and has appeared on the BBC’s Coutryfile programme. He said he had been ‘shocked’ to learn of what was happening to Sheffield’s trees and had visited parts of the city where trees are due to be felled.
He said: “I visited Westwick Road in Greenhill – it was a shock. It had been devastated. All of what is being done here seems to be arbitrary and random. This council is going to leave behind a legacy that is bereft of street trees. Sheffield is known as a green city but it is getting less so day by day.”
Since residents launched their own grassroots campaigns to defend the roadside trees the dispute is becoming increasingly heated.
William Mithra, aged 43, of Hillsborough, who joined the demonstrators, said: “I am a tree surgeon and I don’t think all of the trees need to come down. A good trimming maybe, but not just removed without asking. It is like the council doesn’t care about what the people of Sheffield think.”