Sheffield tree felling work on hold 'until it is safe to continue'

No tree felling works have been carried out since January 22.
No tree felling works have been carried out since January 22.
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Tree felling works across Sheffield will not continue until "it is safe to do so", the council contractor in charge of the works has said.

Works have been paused following clashes between protesters and Amey security staff on Meersbrook Park Road, Meersbrook last month but the firm has previously said the postponement was due to it amending its programme of works.

In an updated statement this morning (Thursday), an Amey spokeswoman said: "As part of our ongoing review of on-site working practices around tree works we are looking closely at safety.

"The behaviour of some of the protesters on Meersbrook Park Road raised real concerns for the safety of our staff as well as the public and the protesters themselves. We will continue with tree works as and when it is safe to do so. However, all other aspects of the Streets Ahead highway improvement works are ongoing across the city.

The spokeswoman said South Yorkshire Police were also investigating "a number of allegations of criminal activity, including assault, relating to the clashes.

Speaking at last night's full Sheffield Council meeting, Coun Bryan Lodge, Cabinet member for environment and Street Scene, said: "There are 500,000 citizens in this city. There are not 500,000 people out there on the street.

"Some people won’t accept there is a different point of view. There are different opinions everywhere. We listen to everybody and we do what is right for the city."

The Amey spokeswoman added there were around 250 trees left to fell and replace as part of Amey's Core Investment Period.

Arborists are felling and replacing trees deemed dangerous, dead, diseased, dying or which are said to be damaging streets and pavements.

Objectors to the scheme have staged a number of protests across the city, with demonstrations now held on a daily basis.

There was a disturbance in Meersbrook Park Road, Meersbrook, on Monday, January 22, when a campaigner fighting to save the trees clashed with security staff, who have been given permission to physically remove trespassers from safety zones.

Trees earmarked for felling are fenced or cordoned off and a court injunction is in place making it illegal for protesters to enter the safety zones. But a number of cordons have been breached, leading to a number of stand-offs.

The Star has contacted South Yorkshire Police for a comment on the criminal activity allegations.