Tree fight 'will continue' despite injunction ruling, say Sheffield campaigners

Campaigners say they will continue to fight for Sheffield's street trees.
Campaigners say they will continue to fight for Sheffield's street trees.
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Sheffield tree campaigners have promised to continue their fight against felling despite a judge granting injunctions against three people.

Mr Justice Males this morning sided with Sheffield Council in its battle to stop Dave Dillner, Calvin Payne and Green Party councillor Alison Teal from taking 'direct action' by protesting inside safety barriers put up around trees.

The campaigners are able to appeal, and are understood to be taking advice on their next steps.

Following the ruling, Sheffield Tree Action Groups, or Stag, said it would continue to do 'everything we can' to save healthy trees due to be felled under the Streets Ahead PFI contract with Amey.

The group also criticised the council for spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal fees, and accused the authority of failing to engage with campaigners.

Co-chairman Chris Rust said: "The past few weeks have seen an unprecedented level of criticism aimed at the council, culminating in the intervention of the Secretary of State for the Environment, followed by absurd and misleading claims in the council’s response to Mr Gove.

"Tree campaigners will not be surprised by this given the barrage of spin put up by the council ever since this fiasco became a matter of public concern.

"Stag and its member groups now have more supporters than ever and we are determined to do everything we can to save the remaining healthy trees condemned by the council and Amey.

"It was depressing, but not surprising, that the council refused repeated requests in court for the highly secret Streets Ahead contract with multinational contractor, Amey, to be made public.

"Until citizens can scrutinise this £2.2 billion agreement and the council are prepared to listen and hold open discussions of how to resolve the dispute, mistrust and opposition is inevitable."

The council says the felling and replacement of 6,000 of the city's 36,000 street trees is necessary, but campaigners say there are ways to save healthy trees within the Streets Ahead contract.