"Three-month reprieve" for Sheffield's street trees

A campaigner for Sheffield's threatened street trees has won the first round of a legal battle with the city council and its contractor Amey, after the High Court granted an interim injunction to prevent further tree felling pending a judicial review.

Image: Matt Wilson
Image: Matt Wilson

The injunction reads: "The Defendant (i.e. SCC) and the Interested Party (i.e. Amey) shall not, whether by themselves, their servants, agents or otherwise, fell any street tree in the City of Sheffield under the Sheffield Streets Ahead Project unless an appropriately qualified independent arboricultural expert has produced a written report stating that the tree presents an immediate danger to the public and must be felled."

Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) representative Dave Dillner made an online funding bid to bring the case, which raised his initial target of £5,000 within 12 hours.

He said: "This is only the first of many hurdles we may face but I am confident in the strength of my claim against Sheffield City Council after hearing from my barrister."

Barrister Charles Streeten of Francis Taylor Building, who has taken the case on a pro bono basis, said: "These proceedings raise important legal issues concerning not only the environment but also the accountability of public authorities. The Sheffield community has pulled together to bring this matter before the court and the High Court's decision to grant interim relief demonstrates the case is being taken seriously."

Sheffield City Council cabinet member for environment and transport Councillor Terry Fox said: "We received a claim for judicial review and injunction late on Friday and have halted all tree felling whilst the injunction is in place."

He added: "We were not notified of the proposed application to court before it was submitted and the court order was passed without our position being heard. Our lawyers are now considering the appropriate action in regard to challenging the court order, which will take a few days. We hope to settle this matter as soon as possible."

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