Sheffield Council says it will step up its tree felling work after successfully getting injunctions against three campaigners.
High Court judge Mr Justice Males yesterday sided in favour of the council in its fight to keep people from protesting inside safety barriers put up around trees.
As a result Dave Dillner, Calvin Payne and Green Party councillor Alison Teal will be in contempt of court if they go inside barriers within the Sheffield city boundary, remain in them, stop them from being put up or park vehicles in the way to stop them being put up.
They are also forbidden from encouraging anyone else to do the same.
If they break the injunction they could face a fine or prison.
The council also won an injunction against 'persons unknown', meaning the same rules apply to anyone else 'intending to enter or remain in safety zones on public highways in the city of Sheffield'.
Read more: Key points from High Court judge's injunction ruling on Sheffield tree campaigners
Following the ruling cabinet member for environment Bryan Lodge said his council had a responsibility to taxpayers to do 'everything we can to avoid catastrophic financial consequences if the Streets Ahead work is not completed by the end of the year'.
He said the Streets Ahead work - which involved the felling and replacement of 6,000 street trees, along with road, street light and pavement maintenance - would now be accelerated.
“The court decision is an extremely important step forward for the residents and council taxpayers of Sheffield," he added.
"We’re pleased that the court has backed the council’s right to carry out its lawful work on the city’s roads and pavements and has ruled that anyone deliberately preventing this is acting unlawfully."
The council says it still supports the right to protest peacefully, but what campaigners were doing was trespassing and preventing 'vital' highways work.
“Following today’s decision, anyone trespassing inside a safety zone after August 22 will be in contempt of court and face the risk of a fine and/or imprisonment.
"We hope that it doesn't come to that and people will now choose to respect the court’s decision. In addition, we will be looking to seek associated costs and damages which will be covered at a later hearing."
Coun Lodge said the council was reviewing how it engaged with campaigners following the ruling.
The council had sought injunctions against eight people, but five signed undertakings agreeing not to go inside safety barriers.
Despite being put under an injunction by her own council, Coun Teal vowed to continue opposing the felling.
"I am very disappointed with this outcome, but will continue to do all that I can to save Sheffield trees," she said.
"Sheffield Greens will not stop standing up for residents and communities who do not want this disastrous and unpopular tree felling programme to go on.
"I would like to thank my legal team for their excellent work, and for all the messages of support I have received. In the short term, we will of course be looking into possible avenues of appeal against this decision.
"It never had to come to this. The council say that this action was a 'last resort', but in truth they have wasted time and taxpayers' money on this needless, aggressive action when all they had to do was acknowledge residents' concerns and to mediate with us.
"In this, the case of 'Sheffield Council vs The People', it is democracy and the residents of Sheffield who have lost. This decision by the high court is very worrying, as the right to peaceful protest has been fundamentally threatened.
"The council's disastrous and unpopular tree felling programme continues to be a story of national and international embarrassment for our city."