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Sheffield tree felling: More saved after deal brokered

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image copyrightPA
image captionThousands of trees have been cut down in Sheffield since 2012

More trees will be saved from the chop in Sheffield after a deal was brokered following a long-running row between the council and protesters.

Since 2012 about 5,500 trees have been cut down under the city council's felling and replacement contract aimed at improving roads and footpaths.

Contractor Amey would "spend more to retain more trees", councillor Lewis Dagnall said following violent clashes.

The Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) said it wanted "to see the figures".

The announcement comes following three days of talks between the council, Amey and STAG.

Work has been on hold since March following clashes between workers and campaigners during protests about the future of the city's street trees.

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Thousands of trees have been felled since the start of a £2.2bn 25-year programme of works, having been assessed as either dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging or discriminatory. They are being replaced with saplings.

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

The dispute led to a number of protests resulting in the authority announcing a pause in the programme earlier this year.

image captionLewis Dagnall has been taking part in talks between the council, Amey and campaigners

Mr Dagnall said: "We've put forward a proposal on behalf of the council and Amey which would see fewer trees replaced over a phased period.

"We will now have a period of a few weeks to allow STAG to further scrutinise the proposals before we have a wider conversation with the public.

"We've got a compromise with Amey that they will take on more risk and spend more to retain more trees."

Mr Dagnall described the meetings as a "great opportunity to work out a way forward which is of benefit to the city".

It has not yet been revealed how many fewer trees will be felled and replaced under the proposals.

Paul Brooke, from STAG, said: "It's not just about the numbers, it's about what happens over the next 20 years, but it does depend on the details they release and how they engage with people.

"They're sounding like they do want to move forward and have peace on the streets - it's up to them to put forward a credible plan and we will look at that when they publish it."

"We need to see the figures and hear their plan as soon as possible," he added.

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