Police 'advice' led to early morning tree felling in Sheffield

Sheffield Council claims South Yorkshire Police advised tree fellers to start cutting down trees on a Sheffield street while residents slept.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 11:34 am
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 11:22 am
Tree fellers on Rustlings Road

The council has been accused of being 'underhand' by Sheffield MP Mick Clegg and residents in Rustlings Road, Endcliffe, after tree felling got underway at 5am today.

Residents claim they were not informed of the tree felling date beforehand.

Trees are being cut down across the city as part of a road and pavement improvement programme.

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Councillor Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for the environment, said: “We carried out the work very early in the morning on the advice of the police to make sure it could be done safely.

"This isn’t usually needed but in this case it was considered the best option for the safety of the public, protesters and the workers.

“I understand there are strong emotions about this but have to stand by the decision to do this vital maintenance work. We’ve got 36,000 street trees in Sheffield and this programme means that in years to come we’ll have even more.

“For more than a year we have worked tirelessly with Amey and the local community to find the right solution for Rustlings Road.

"We have written to every home, brought in a new survey process for the entire city and set up an Independent Tree Panel.

"Our approach has been assessed at the High Court on three occasions.

“We have made a final decision to increase the number of trees on Rustlings Road by almost 30 per cent. We need to replace eight out of the 30 existing trees, but we will plant 17, which means the road is gaining an extra nine trees.

"We understand that this will be a difficult day for the tree campaigners, but this work is absolutely essential to ensure that Sheffield has healthy street trees for future generations."

South Yorkshire Police said 12 officers were involved in the early morning operation and made three arrests.

A spokesman added: “South Yorkshire Police provided information to Sheffield Council advising them of the potential risks and threats that could be caused to public safety.”

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