Bianca Jagger and Ken Loach back campaign to save Sheffield's street trees

Ken Loach and Bianca Jagger (photos by Julian Brown and Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Ken Loach and Bianca Jagger (photos by Julian Brown and Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
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Bianca Jagger and Ken Loach have become the latest celebrities to speak out against the controversial felling of Sheffield's street trees.

The actress-turned human rights ambassador and the acclaimed director have added their voices to those of campaigners calling for Sheffield Council to abandon its tree replacement programme.

Bianca Jagger has sent numerous tweets this week to her nearly 62,000 followers backing the cause.

"I don't live in Sheffield, but I support all #TreeActivists and their objectives. I believe trees are critical to our survival. I admire your courageous, persistent, peaceful and creative campaign to save trees. Don't give up! Keep holding the gov accountable. I salute you," she wrote on Sunday.

She has also been busy sharing tweets from tree campaigners, in between writing about issues ranging from Brexit to alleged electoral fraud in Honduras.

Ken Loach, who directed I, Daniel Blake, sent a message of support to protesters at Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG).

"It seems unbelievable that Sheffield Council can vandalise trees that so enhance our cities. Trees cheer us up, they mark the seasons and soften the landscape. Only a fool would want to destroy them," he wrote.

"I hope people turn against the small-minded councillors who have allowed this to happen and vote them out."

He signed off with the words 'good luck and solidarity'.

Sheffield singer Richard Hawley and former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker are among several other high-profile figures who have backed the tree campaigners.

Around 6,000 street trees across Sheffield have been or are due to be felled in the first five years of the council's controversial £2 billion Streets Ahead contract with Amey. A further 4,000 are expected to be replaced over the remaining 20 years of the contract.

The council says those trees, all of which will be replaced, are dead or dying, are damaging roads, pavements and people's homes, or could obstruct or pose a hazard to members of the public.

But campaigners, who say many are healthy and could be saved, have accused the council of doing too little to investigate possible engineering solutions to prevent their destruction.

Councillors are due to decide the fate of more than 40 war memorial trees next week.