A High Court judge has lifted a temporary injunction preventing Sheffield trees being axed – but the council has pledged not to resume work until a final verdict.
Heeley tree campaigner Dave Dilner was granted an interim injunction in February, preventing Sheffield Council and its contractor Amey felling trees.
Yesterday a judge in London’s High Court lifted the injunction with immediate effect – meaning the council are legally allowed to start felling trees.
But Sheffield Council has said it ‘will not resume the full street tree replacement programme’ as they ‘want to make sure that our work with communities on this issue is right’.
It is understood the judge will deliver the final verdict on the Streets Ahead programme in 10 days.
Mr Dilner said: “I am extremely concerned at the discharge of the injunction because of the risks to the trees we have fought so hard to protect.”
Simon Green, executive director for place for the council, said: “We are delighted that the court has agreed with the council’s case to have the tree injunction lifted. However, we have been clear throughout that we want to make sure that our work with communities on this issue is right, so we will not resume the full street tree replacement programme until we have had the court’s final decision.”
Mr Dilner said: “Whilst the interim injunction part of our ongoing case has been lifted, the hearing is not over yet.
“The amount of public support that my case, and the Save Sheffield’s Highway Trees campaign has garnered, shows that there are a number of merits to my having taken this case – not least its moral position for Sheffielders now and for future generations. It is very disappointing that I felt forced to take this private action to achieve what I feel is more increased accountability, openness, transparency and meaningful dialogue by Sheffield Council and their contractor Amey.
“In this sense, the ongoing case is achieving one of its goals. Sheffield Council’s Streets Ahead and Amey are now clearly aware that the spotlight is on them and on our city’s international status remaining as one of the greenest cities in Europe and the greenest in Great Britain. The world is now watching carefully what they do next.”
n To support Mr Dilner’s legal bid, visit: www.crowd justice.co.uk/case/sheffield-trees