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Court Case Summary and Comments

Last week Sheffield Council brought another case against four campaigners, who they allege had breached the injunction.

Though the outcome of the case is still not fully confirmed, here is a brief summary of significant information to come out of the court case, and what it may mean for the future of the campaign. 

The barrister acting on behalf of Sheffield Council confirmed that Counselor Julie Dore had signed off on the court case, despite Counselor Lewis Dagnall saying publicly that the decision was solely the decision of officials, and that Councillors had no say in whether the cases were brought to court.

It appears that specific type of tactics campaigners have used to delay felling remain outside the terms of the injunction and able to continue to be used.

Two of the four accused were given suspended custodial sentences, the third was found guilty but with no sentence, and the the judge is still considering his decision on the fourth person.

The question of how much of the Council’s application for costs should be awarded against campaigners is still to be decided .

Over £4,800 has so far been raised via a crowdfunder setup to help cover court costs.
Clearly the outcome of the case isn’t good for the three individuals found guilty of breaching an injunction, and potentially significant costs may yet be awarded. But on the bright side, all three have avoided being imprisoned. 

Though many fear that felling will commence immediately, it is likely that the pause in felling will continue for many more weeks yet. Word has it that Amey is still finalising its detailed proposal to save more trees. Which once submitted, will still need to go through Council Officers, the Labour Cabinet and the wider Labour Party, before hopefully being proposed to the campaign as a solution.

In the meantime, please continue to support the campaign in any way you can. Donate to the crowdfunder, or attend a supporters meeting. 

It is hoped that Counselor Lewis Dagnall, the new Cabinet Member for Environment, will be at the next Save Nether Edge Trees supporters meeting, though this is yet to be confirmed.

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New Injunction Court Cases

Sadly, Sheffield Council are once again bringing court cases against tree campaigners who it claims have breached the terms of the injunction. Individual campaigners may face heavy court costs, should the council be successful.

Once again there is a crowdfunder to help cover legal costs.
Please give generously.

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The Greens Win In Nether Edge!

Congratulations to Alison Teal, the Nether Edge Green Councillor and prominent tree campaigner, for retaining her seat and increasing her majority by 1393 votes.

“Labour Councillors have previously claimed they have the democratic mandate for their disastrous plan to fell 17,500 trees. They cannot claim this after today.“
Paul Brooke – Co-Chair STAG Steering Group

The Labour run council also lost a total of four seats to other parties:

Broomhill and Sharrow Vale (Green Party)
City (Green Party)
Crookes and Crosspool (Liberal Democrats)
West Ecclesfield (Liberal Democrats)
See here for all results as they are announced.

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City Hall Rally – Saturday 7th April

A rally is to be held outside Sheffield City Hall next Saturday (7th April). The event, organised by Dave Dillner founder of STAG, will commence with a march around town before finishing back at the City Hall for speeches.

Speakers will include experts in arboricultural, environmental and ecological matters, as well as people from the world of entertainment, including Sheffield’s very own Jarvis Cocker.

Event:       Get Off My Tree
Date:         Saturday 7th April
Time:        9.45am
Location: Sheffield City Hall (Outside)

With the council announcing a pause in felling, and the elections coming up (coincidence?), this is a great opportunity to show the council that you oppose the felling of our healthy street trees. In addition, let’s show the world that despite the violence and intimidatory tactics being used against protesters, we remain a peaceful campaign.

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Council Pause Tree Felling Again

Sheffield Council has once again paused the tree felling program after yet more criticism.

Secretary of State, Michael Gove has again condemned the councils actions as “environmental vandalism”, saying that he will do “anything required” to help end the felling.

In recent weeks more and more Labour MPs have called for the council to sit down and talk to campaigners. Now Sue Hayman, the Labour Shadow Environment Secretary, has offered to mediate, reportedly with the support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

For further details click here.

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Chelsea Elm Pruning Successful

The Chelsea Elm was safely pruned yesterday after an agreement was reached between the Save Nether Edge Trees group, Sheffield Council and Amey.

Many protesters were fearful that Amey would ignore the agreed plans, despite the presence of an independent arborist that had been specially employed for the occasion by Save Nether Edge Trees.

“I just want to say a huge thanks to all who respected the pruning work on the elm today. I understand how nervous people were, how much trust you had to put in Amey, SCC and even me! A shed load of it in fact. But it was a successful day in the end after a really tough week.

So many people contributed, too many to thank individually. But from the bottom of my heart thank you all. The butterfly colony is virtually untouched and the tree should almost certainly be okay too”

Paul Selby, Save Nether Edge Trees

On the day, it was decided that less branches needed to be removed than was previously thought necessary.

Tellingly, the pruning was carried out by Amey’s own arborists rather than Acorn, who Amey, the external company they have previously relied upon to fell contested trees.

Let’s hope that Amey’s willingness to cooperate is a sign of things to come.

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Chelsea Elm Pruning Update!

An agreement has been reached between the Save Nether Edge Trees group, Sheffield Council and Amey with regard to the “pressing safety work” to be carried out on the Chelsea Elm.

Although the campaign has always agreed that some pruning of the rare disease resistant elm was required for safety reasons. Campaigners have previously prevented work being carried out on the tree due to concerns over the extent of the work the council was proposing, and the effect it may have on the rare species of White Letter Hairstreak Butterfly that have made their home in its branches.

The Plan
It has been agreed that Amey contractors will:

Remove a single branch/limb identified in an independent report as imminently dangerous.
Remove a smaller branch which is encroaching into the carriageway.
Thin the canopy (top and sides) by between 2 and 2.5 metres.
All work will be under the observation of an independent arborist, employed by Save Nether Edge Trees.

Long Term
The long term future of the tree is still being discussed, but after the pruning, there should be no imminent threat of felling. And the tree will continue to be being monitored as part of the butterfly mitigation plan.

Peaceful Pruning Observation Event 
The work is due to be carried out on Friday 23rd February. Time to be confirmed. 

We would like people to peacefully observe the pruning from outside the safety barriers, ensuring the pruning and safety work is unhindered.

For more information see here.

Also See: Council To “Prune” The Chelsea Elm

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