Tree felling campaigners have today vowed to carry on their fight after councillors voted to take no action on a petition signed by 10,000 people.
The vote, after a debate yesterday, means work to fell 11 trees on Rustlings Road, near Endcliffe Park, could now go ahead although it is not clear when that will happen.
A motion from opposition councillors to refer the matter for further scrutiny was defeated by their Labour counterparts.
Although the petition began over the Rustlings Road trees, campaigners wanted city-wide scrutiny of the council’s felling policy and a moratorium on felling for two months.
During the debate Save Our Rustlings Trees speaker Alan Robshaw said it was about ‘people’s lives and the kind of city we want to live in.’
Louise Wilcockson, one of the campaigners, said afterwards: “In my opinion it is an abuse of power, it’s not about being right, it is about power.
“Sheffield people have essentially given 10,000 votes to these trees, more than any councillor in that room was elected on.
“I look forward to the media and the next generation taking them to task for what they have decided to do.
“We will be reviewing our next course of action – this is not the end, it is only the beginning.”
During the debate Labour councillors argued 50,000 trees had been planted in Sheffield this year, other people wanted trees removing and felling was always a ‘last resort’. They stressed felled trees are replaced, access for people in wheelchairs, visual impairments or prams was difficult in many areas because of tree roots and the council had to meet its highway obligations.
Coun Peter Price was drowned out after he said the city’s ‘international’ green reputation was not going to be lost ‘because of you whinging about some trees on a certain street.’
Louise added afterwards: “I took umbrage personally because it is not a ‘not in my back yard thing’. I’m mixed race from Broomhall, I’m as working class as they come.”
Fellow campaigner David Garlovski said it appeared that ‘potholes were more important than trees’ after councillors spoke of the importance of the Streets Ahead highways contract with Amey.
He added: “They’re not replacing felled trees with like for like as they can’t put a 100-year-old tree back.”