Tree felling as part of Sheffield City Council’s tree replacement programme will now start before 7am, despite a councillor last year saying this wouldn’t happen.
Bryan Lodge, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, made the initial statement to BBC Radio Sheffield in 2016 in light of protests against the scheme on Rustlings Road.
But contractors Amey PLC will cut down trees from the early hours in light of protesters continuing to breach a High Court injunction by entering into erected safety zones, as the council believe it is the best way to continue the work as safely as possible.
Chainsaws will not be switched on before 7am in order to keep noise levels to an “absolute minimum”, the council added.
The programme is part of Streets Ahead, an ongoing £2bn Sheffield City Council project which the authority says will improve roads and footpaths in the city, with about 5,500 trees being cut down since 2012.
65,000 trees had been planted across Sheffield in the past three years including those planted as part of the programme.
The council insists the trees earmarked for felling are either “dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging or discriminatory” and each tree removed will be replaced on a one-for-one basis.
However, protesters claim many of the trees classed as “damaging” or “discriminatory” are healthy specimens which should not be cut down.
Protests against the tree felling continued in Sheffield today where a man jumped over the barriers at a felling site on Thornsnett Road in Sheffield. After several hours, this afternoon the felling team packed up and left the site.
The man, who declined to give his name, said he was not surprised by the council’s apparent u-turn on beginning work before 7am. He added: “they seem to be going back on lots of things. They seem quite happy to make it up as they go along really.