Sheffield Council is to resume its tree replacement programme after a High Court judge ruled in its favour.
The local authority put the axe on hold after Heeley resident Dave Dilner was granted an interim injunction by the High Court, preventing the authority and contractor Amey felling trees.
But after a judge found in favour of the authority earlier this month, the Streets Ahead programme to replace highway trees will now recommence.
Coun Bryan Lodge, new cabinet member for the environment, said: “A commitment was made that we would not resume the tree replacement programme until a final decision had been received from the High Court. We have honoured that commitment.
“We will ensure that Sheffield benefits from the best possible street tree provision for decades to come and the best way to do this is by properly maintaining and renewing some of the current trees we have.
“We are aware that a small number of people will not be happy with this and may want to stop the work.
“We remain committed to listening to the views of all residents and will continue the survey process. Therefore the work of the Independent Tree Panel will also continue. “We respect their right to protest but will not tolerate any activity which obstructs the work or which places members of the public and our staff in harm’s way.”
In February we reported that the council had removed 3,388 trees and planted 3,618. At the time the authority said there were still another 2,000 trees to be felled.
Council leader Julie Dore said the programme was about ‘protection – not destruction’.
The council claimed that it would cost £26 million to save the remaining highway trees.
The council added assurance that they will not remove any tree which has nesting birds in it.
Dave Dilner, chair of Sheffield Tree Action Group, said: “It is shocking that the council and Amey should resume felling when a legal appeal has been formally lodged.
“As for Mr Lodge’s comments that this campaign involves ‘a small number of people’, the tree petitions alone are now over 22,000 and the number is increasing daily. Experts around the world are sending messages of support.
“We expect a £2.2 billion contract paid for by the public to do what is right by the public and to fulfil the full duties which include retaining our structurally sound, healthy, mature highway trees as well as our appropriately-assessed safety. The two things are not mutually exclusive.
“Alternative solutions to felling come at no extra cost to the council – the taxpayer does not pay if alternative solutions can be applied.”