William Eichler 28 June 2017

Council threatens councillor with legal action for tree felling protest

Sheffield Council has threatened legal action against environmentalists and an opposition councillor who are trying to prevent some trees being removed.

The council’s Streets Ahead road improvement programme will see a number of trees in the city being uprooted — a decision which has provoked a number of campaigners to try and stop it.

The local authority claims the protesters are being ‘disruptive’ and is now pursuing ‘civil legal remedies’ against a number of individuals, including Green Party councillor Alison Teal.

‘Despite issuing representatives of the tree protestor group a letter several weeks ago confirming that their actions remain unlawful, works continue to be disrupted, causing city-wide delays to the programme and against the wishes of residents,’ said the cabinet member for environment and street scene, Cllr Bryan Lodge.

‘We hope that by pursuing civil legal remedies, those involved in unlawfully disrupting tree works will recognise the implications of their actions and allow these vital highway operations to be implemented. 

‘The legal process is designed to give the protestors a chance to further and finally consider their position before an application is made to court.’

Cllr Teal was arrested at a tree felling protest in last February.

Speaking after Cllr Teal’s arrest, fellow Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson, representing City Ward, said: ‘The right to peaceful protest is an important part of living in a democracy.’

‘The Sheffield Green Party completely support Cllr Teal and the other protestors, and will stand with them against any charges and court proceedings which may follow,’ he continued.

‘We condemn the use of anti-Trade Union laws against these peaceful protestors, as we did when similar laws were used to arrest 2 tree protestors late last year.’

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