More Sheffield tree protests likely - councillor predicts - as environment chief promises to meet campaigners

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Angry residents will continue protesting over trees being felled in Sheffield suburbs – unless more consultation takes place, a councillor has warned.

Ecclesall Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said he had been deluged with emails from concerned people about plans to remove 12 trees on Rustlings Road alongside Endcliffe Park.

He said: “What people don’t want is for the first time they find out to be a notice on the tree saying that it is going in a fortnight, that’s when the campaigns start and you get lots of people up in arms.

“It really rubs people up the wrong way – the process needs to be more transparent.

“If it carries on like this I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more and more campaigns. People are passionate about trees and Sheffield is a green city.”

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against the removal of the Rustlings Road trees, due to take place next week.

Sheffield Council’s contractor Amey, which is carrying out the Streets Ahead project to renew the city’s highways, says they need to be removed because they are damaging the street. New trees will be planted.

Coun Mohammed says ‘people power’ saved a tree on Greystones Avenue which had been earmarked for removal.

Residents protested and now the tree has been saved – with a ‘thank you, tree saved’ sign tied to its trunk.

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg has written to the council calling for more time to consult with residents.

Two people asked questions about trees at a meeting of Sheffield’s full council yesterday.

Coun Terry Fox, cabinet member for environment, said he would meet campaigners on Monday.

He said ‘nobody wants to take out a tree for the sake of taking out a tree’ but there were ‘serious hurdles’ to get over and the council was governed by many laws over footways and paths.

The council would be ‘neglecting its duty’ if it did not deal with the problem now and left it for future generations, he added.

Since the Amey contract began in 2012, 2,000 highway trees have been replaced.

Amey says it only removes trees as a ‘last resort’. A ‘prime example’ was the Greystones tree, which staff found could be retained once they started digging.

A spokesman said it ‘worked hard’ to inform residents but welcomed ideas on how to communicate better.