Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield tree-felling work paused after violent clashes

Tree felling in Sheffield Image copyright PA
Image caption Thousands of trees have been cut down in Sheffield since 2012

Tree-felling has been paused in the wake of violent clashes between workers and protesters in Sheffield.

Council contractor Amey said work at Meersbrook Park Road would be paused for a "few days" to re-evaluate the safety of its stewards.

Police are investigating after both campaigners and workers claimed they had been assaulted on Monday.

The firm is removing damaged trees as part of a £2bn scheme but campaigners say some of them are healthy.

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The latest clashes come after Amey said it would physically remove anyone if they entered safety zones set up around the trees being felled.

Under the terms of an injunction brought by the council, people are forbidden from entering these areas.

Claims 'disingenuous'

Darren Butt, the Amey account director, said: "I need to make sure that I can reassure my own team of their safety on site.

"I hope to be back removing trees and carrying out essential work on the highways very shortly."

Dave Dilner, founding member of Sheffield Tree Action Group, said he believed Mr Butt was being "disingenuous" when he said work was being halted to examine staff safety.

"No campaigner has ever threatened or assaulted any member of his staff, if they had they would've been arrested and they haven't," he said.

The tree-felling and replacement programme is part of Sheffield City Council's Streets Ahead project, which the authority says is to improve roads and footpaths.

The council insists the trees earmarked for felling are either "dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging or discriminatory".

However, campaigners claim many of the trees classed by the council as "damaging" or "discriminatory" are healthy specimens which should not be cut down.

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