Campaigners prevent tree felling in Nether Edge after protests at Sheffield’s Magistrates’ Court

‘Save Our Trees’ campaigners prevented a tree being felled in Nether Edge this morning, just hours after two of them appeared in court over an earlier protest in the same part of the city.

Protesters were alerted to today’s incident when a resident spotted contractors felling a tree on Raven Road, Nether Edge.

Word spread quickly on social media, and within half an hour around 35 protesters were at the scene, including two men who appeared before Sheffield Magistrates Court today.

Simon Crump, 56, and Calvin Payne, 44, appeared in front of a judge in connection with the alleged prevention of a tree-felling last month.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge of preventing the tree-fellers from performing their job and will appear for trial on March 9th next year.

The protesters on Raven Road today peacefully allowed a diseased lime tree to be cut down but objected when contractors attempted to fell another tree.

Amey contractors began cutting off the tree’s branches but said it was unsafe to continue felling it with so many people around.

Contractors cut one of the branches off before they were forced to stop
Contractors were cutting branches off this tree when they were interrupted

Paul Selby, 54, was one of the first to arrive at Raven Road. He said: “They managed to get one small branch but it’s still standing.

“Amey have been fought off for today.”

Natalie Bennett, prospective Sheffield Central MP and former Green Party leader, attended both protests this morning. She said: “Well done to the residents.

“It’s further proof that the actions of the council are making the people of Sheffield more resilient.”

Helen McIlroy, 57, is the co-ordinator of the Save Nether Edge Trees group. She said: “We’re not idiots, however the council would like to portray us.

“We feel betrayed by the council. As a resident you should be able to trust them.”

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are continuing with our programme because it is the best way to maintain the same number of trees, if not more, on Sheffield’s streets.” 

He said that opinions were divided across the city and the council is committed to ensuring the process is “fair and transparent”.

He also said: “Every household on streets where we plan to replace trees will be sent a survey to ask for their views. Where more than 50% of respondents do not agree with the proposals, we ak the Independent Tree Panel to investigate and make a recommendation. All trees that have to be removed are replaced with a species better suited to the highway.

“We ask that the public let our teams carry out the work safely.”