Council apologises over Sheffield tree-felling

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Members of the public look on as contractors cut down a tree in Rustlings RoadImage source, PA
Image caption,
Council contractors began work on felling trees at dawn

A council has apologised for the dawn felling of trees on a Sheffield street, which had been at the centre of an 18-month campaign to protect them.

Local residents were outraged when Sheffield City Council contractors began removing eight trees in Rustlings Road at 05:00 GMT on 17 November.

People were woken up and asked to move their cars so work could begin. Three people were arrested.

The council has now said it will not work in the same way again.

It claims the trees were damaging pavements, something which would cost them £50,000 to repair.

However an independent report found there was no "arboricultural reason" to remove seven of the trees.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment at Sheffield City Council, said future tree work will not start before 07:00 GMT.

He said: "We are sorry for the disruption and distress caused by the work starting at 5am and the decision not to publish the Tree Panel report in advance.

"There were reasons relating to public safety why the decision was taken to fell the trees at 5am and not to publish the report earlier, but we have heard the message loud and clear that this was not the acceptable course of action.

"We have reflected on this and will not do work in the same way. To be specific, we commit to publishing the Independent Tree Panel reports in a timely manner, with full and transparent information about how we have come to decisions.

"We can also give assurances that no work will begin before 7am."

He added: "We know we got it wrong last week with the way the work was started. We have listened and are sorry for the mistakes that we made."

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