Sheffield & South Yorkshire

'Perspective' letter branded as 'nonsense' by tree campaigners

Tree in Sheffield
Image caption Campaigners have been fighting tree felling in Sheffield

A letter asking tree-felling campaigners to show "a little more perspective" about Sheffield's other problems has been branded "nonsense" by the protest group.

The letter, signed by 17 people, said the city faced more pressing matters, including funding cuts and the so-called bedroom tax.

More than 3,000 trees have been felled since 2012 as part of a £2bn project.

Sheffield Tree Action Group (Stag) said it was "about trees, not politics".

The letter, signed by councillors and union officials in a personal capacity, said they were in favour of environmental protection but the extent of negative publicity the council has faced has been "hugely disproportionate".

It also criticised campaigners for focusing on the most "affluent neighbourhoods" of the city.

'Letter is nonsense'

Sheffield City Council's five-year Streets Ahead project is being carried out by contractor Amey.

Earlier in February, opponents of the scheme were granted an interim injunction by the High Court and the council was ordered to stop felling.

Dave Dillner, chairman of Stag, said: "The letter is nonsense, I take very great exception to being told I don't care about social issues - I have signed petitions against the bedroom tax, I have marched against it.

"The signatories know nothing about me outside of this tree campaign, how dare they presume. This is about trees, not politics."

Councillor Terry Fox, cabinet member for Environment and Transport at the council, welcomed the letter.

He said: "I'm pleased to see some perspective. We all want to keep Sheffield green, and we need to pull together as a city to do the best we can for our trees.

"We'll work closely with communities to get this situation sorted out as quickly as possible."

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