The signatories, all writing in a personal capacity, claim opposition to tree felling is "solely concentrated in the most affluent neighbourhoods" and "has as much to do with the protection of house prices in the leafy suburbs as it does with environmental protection".
But Sheffield Hallam University professor of environmental geography Ian Rotherham, a prominent opponent of the tree programme, called the letter "bizarre and misinformed". He said the issue of affluence "is totally misleading - there are protests across less affluent areas too".
Save Our Roadside Trees representative Louise Wilcockson added: "If the level of publicity has been high it's been due to the hard work of people and due to the strong public feeling, which the media rightly reflect."
The council, meanwhile, held a "full-day interactive event" at Sheffield Town Hall on 26 February where the public could view the city's draft Trees & Woodland Strategy before it goes out for wider consultation, and speak to staff.