By James Morrell and Khadijah Markovna Morgan
The felling of Sheffield’s trees has been halted for three months and an independent panel has been set up to deal with the concerns of residents.
The High Court has finally ordered Sheffield City Council to stop felling trees after widespread protest from the people of Sheffield.
The Tree Felling row began as a result of the ‘Streets Ahead’ scheme, when Sheffield City Council decided in 2012 that dying and decaying trees needed to be chopped down.
This has led to widespread protest, mainly due to the heritage of the trees, benefits they bring and the lack of transparency in Sheffield City Council.
An independent panel has also been set up in order to deal with the concerns of locals who have had trees felled where they live.
Since the £2.2bn ‘Streets Ahead’ scheme was started in 2012, Sheffield City Council has already cut down 3,388 trees.
Heeley Campaigner Dave Dilner finally secured a High Court injunction, preventing tree felling for three months, which Sheffield City Council say they will challenge.
Councillor Terry Fox, cabinet member for Environment and Transport at Sheffield City Council said: “Our lawyers are now considering the appropriate action in regard to challenging the court order, which will take a few days.”
The decision came just days before Nick Clegg called the tree felling scheme a “national scandal”, although Councillor Julie Dore states that the Liberal Democrats agreed to the tree felling when it was first being discussed in 2009, according to BBC News.
An independent panel was recently set up to resolve disagreements over the felling of the trees; It will consider 36 cases at its first meeting, concerning streets where tree felling has hit hardest.
City councillors have argued that the felling of the trees will actually contribute to a greener Sheffield.
Councillor Julie Dore said: “I hope people realise that this tree replacement work is absolutely vital to maintain Sheffield’s tree-lined streets for future generations.”
A number of protests have taken place since the tree felling was announced.
In 2015, a ‘Protest Camp’ was set up by STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Group) in Endcliffe Park.
In January 2016, protesters turned out in Nether Edge to oppose the felling of a rare Elm tree, which is around 200 years old.
Councillor Julie Dore said: “We are extremely lucky in this economic climate to have the resources to do this.
“Without the Streets Ahead programme, dying or dangerous trees would not be replaced.”
Sheffield’s trees have been decorated across the city by protesters with signs such as ‘save me’ tied to their trunks.
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