Protesters are angered after Sheffield City Council revealed up to 17,500 trees could be felled as part of a £2bn contract.
Cabinet member for Environment and Streetscene, Coun Bryan Lodge, said: “It has taken longer than we would have wished, but it was always our intention to release more of the Streets Ahead contract.”
More than 6,000 trees have been felled to upgrade 65% of Sheffield’s streets and roads.
These include trees planted as a memorial for World War One soldiers.
Much of the felling operations have been delayed by protesters campaigning against the removal of healthy, mature trees.
Protesters also believe that costed solutions to save these trees are not being implemented.
Sheffield City Council and Amey, the Streets Ahead contractors, have insisted that costed solutions are considered.
Coun Lodge said: “Any suggestion that 17,500 trees is a target or a requirement is an incorrect interpretation of the contract. The ‘objective of the council has been to retain trees where possible.”
Following an independent survey in 2007, the Labour council revealed 75% of Sheffield’s street trees are mature or reaching maturity.
Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) stated this is a misinterpretation, and many of the trees are only just reaching adulthood rather than the end of their life.
One member of STAG’s Facebook page said: “It is with deep regret that I resign my membership of the Labour Party. I remain a socialist but am appalled at the removal of 17,500 street trees.”
She added: “The refusal to work towards a resolution, but instead use a heavy police presence to unnecessarily cut down healthy trees in my neighbourhood means that you have lost my support.”
Trees Battle – enough is enough: This is what happens to you in #Sheffield if you dare to challenge its city council. Police force descends in large numbers and ugly scenes ensue. This breakdown in communication is heaping shame on Yorkshire. https://t.co/c2Y67rffWJ pic.twitter.com/I6sWBFdOCq
— James Mitchinson (@JayMitchinson) 5 March 2018