Apologies that the monthly newsletters have been a little thin on the ground of late. Needless to say, we’ve not been idle!
Legal update and Crowdfunder
Hopefully many of you will have seen the webpage and press coverage of the council’s intention to seek injunctions against several prominent tree campaigners and “unnamed people”. Approximately 2 weeks ago, 17 campaigners, mostly from the Nether Edge area were sent letters from SCC which included photos of them peacefully-protesting at tree fellings and screen shots from their posts on Facebook and other social media. SCC believe what these individuals were, and are, doing to be illegal, our legal team, led by John Cooper QC, thinks differently.
On 17th July, the 8 campaigners, who had not been intimidated into signing away their right to peaceful protest by threats of unquantifiable costs, appeared at Leeds High Court. After several hours in the courtroom, a full hearing was scheduled for 26-28th July and SCC’s request for an interim injunction against 8 campaigners and ‘persons unknown” (meaning anybody), was denied.
We are under no illusion as to the personal risk each of the 8 campaigners named in the proposed injunction has taken and are obviously indebted to them for taking such risks to bring this matter before a court. The most important thing we can do to support them now is to ensure that funds are available to meet their legal costs in the immediate future and any possible financial penalties they may face as the result of an unfavourable outcome at court.
With that in mind, I would urge any of you who have yet to donate to our Crowdfunder, or if you have donated and can spare a little more, to please do so within the next few days. The link to the Crowdfunder can be found here:
We have had a fantastic response to the Crowdfunder so far but we all need to dig a little deeper. Every pound counts at this point so even if you can only afford a small amount, please be assured that it will make a difference. If you would rather pay directly to the legal fund please reply to this email for details. Alternatively, a number of the shops in Nether Edge have agreed to have collecting boxes over the coming weeks so please visit them to donate if you would rather.
The shops are:
As with all our fundraising for legal costs, any money not required at the end of the campaign will be donated to a legal charity.
Our next general meeting will take place on 31st July at the Banner Cross pub. Please arrive at 7.45 for a prompt 8pm start. By then we will know whether SCC has been successful in its injunction bid and how this will affect the campaign going forward.
How to organise your street to act when felling crews arrive
This is something we plan to address at the general meeting, however, in the meantime, felling crews are turning up on Nether Edge streets on a daily basis now. If you are aware of neighbours on your street who want to be involved in the campaign, or who are at home during the day and could act as “eyes on the street” it may be worth talking to them about setting up a contact group. This could be on Facebook, via What’s app or just a simple text message group. It makes it a lot easier for residents on your street to keep abreast of what’s going on if you are in direct contact with each other. Several streets already have these types of things in place and have found it invaluable when they need to mount a quick response when felling crews arrive on their roads.
Some of you may have seen posters going up around Nether Edge instructing felling crews that they do not have permission to oversail private property. Under English law a landowner owns the airspace above his/her land (unless it has been expressly excluded from the lease or transfer to him) and it is therefore trespass if a contractor enters this airspace, for instance to remove a tree branch which overhangs your garden. Oversailing includes both people working directly above the house or garden and any materials under their control moving through the airspace above the house or garden.
Amey (and their sub-contractors) assume that there will be no resistance to them oversailing your property and, as such, have not applied for licences to do just that. In other words, they hope you don’t know that what they are doing on a daily basis is essentially trespassing. The following links give templates for letters which you can send to Amey and, more importantly, signs you can put in your garden or visible place in a front-facing window to make sure that Amey understand that they do not have permission to oversail your land.
Nobody has the right to enter your property, including your garden, without your permission, which you do not have to give regardless of how politely they ask. If they drop anything in your garden they need your permission to come and retrieve it. In addition, any damage caused to your property should be photographed and a complaint should be made. We would advise you to take pictures NOW so you have them for reference in case such a situation arises.
General oversail poster:
Oversail poster specific to your residence:
Oversail letter (advisable to send by recorded delivery and request an acknowledgement of your wishes):
We will, of course, be in touch as soon as we have any news on next week’s court hearing and thank you all for your continued support.