Councillor defiant after being charged over Sheffield tree protest

Green Party councillor Alison Teal
Green Party councillor Alison Teal
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A Sheffield councillor charged over a tree protest says she 'felt compelled to take a stand'.

Alison Teal, who represents the Green Party, was among seven demonstrators arrested and subsequently charged for trying to prevent a horse chestnut tree being felled in Chippinghouse Road, Nether Edge, yesterday.

Demonstrators in Chippinghouse Road before their arrest

Demonstrators in Chippinghouse Road before their arrest

They were all charged under the Trade Union and Relations Act and are due to appear at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on March 7.

Coun Teal said: "I felt compelled to support the other people who decided to take action, because it was a perfectly healthy tree.

"I think it's important to take a stand when things are happening which you think are ill-conceived.

"We should be saving trees, not cutting them down for the convenience of a company and its long-term profits."

Tree protestors are led to a police van following their arrest

Tree protestors are led to a police van following their arrest

She also said these were unlikely to be the last arrests as protesters continue their delaying tactics in an attempt to save hundreds more trees facing the chop as part of the council's street repairs contract with Amey.

And she revealed she still has no idea whether she will be able to continue as a councillor should she end up with a criminal record.

Sheffield Council has criticised protesters for trying to prevent trees being felled, claiming their tactics are wasting taxpayers' money.

The council and Amey claim the trees must be replaced as they are damaging pavements and potentially obstructing or endangering pedestrians.

But protesters insist there is no need to remove healthy mature trees as other solutions are possible.

The court date for the Chippinghouse Seven, as some supporters have dubbed them, falls a couple of days before two other men arrested at a demonstration last year are due to face trial on March 9.

There were more protests on Tuesday as staff from council contractor Amey returned to Chippinghouse Road to carry out further tree felling, but no one was arrested.

A council spokeswoman said six trees in all are due to be replaced in that street and and a recent survey had showed the majority of residents living in there did not object to the work.

She added that its tree replacement proposals for Steade Road, Nether Edge, were being considered by the Independent Tree Panel, following a survey of those living there.

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