Council wins court battle to stop protesters delaying Sheffield tree-felling

A judge has made orders stopping people taking "unlawful direct action" preventing the "lawful" felling of roadside trees.
A judge has made orders stopping people taking "unlawful direct action" preventing the "lawful" felling of roadside trees.
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Sheffield City Council bosses have won a High Court fight with protesters trying to halt a street tree-felling programme.

A judge has made orders stopping people taking "unlawful direct action" preventing the "lawful" felling of roadside trees.

Mr Justice Males analysed evidence at a trial in Leeds in July and handed down a ruling in London on Tuesday.

The tree-felling programme has been criticised by former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, when he was a Sheffield Lib Dem MP, and Conservative Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Council bosses say the programme is essential if Sheffield's 36,000 street trees are to be managed for future generations.

They say trees earmarked for felling are dying or diseased, or pose dangers.

But protesters disagree and regular protests have been staged as contractors have removed hundreds of roadside trees.

Sheffield City Council had asked for orders barring three named people - including one of its own Green Party councillors - and ''persons unknown'' from ''continuing to take unlawful direct action" or from encouraging others to direct action.

The three named by council lawyers were: councillor Alison Teal, campaigner David Dillner and Calvin Payne.

Mr Justice Males said the council was entitled to the injunctions sought.

Last year, Mr Dillner - a retired actor and founder of the Sheffield Tree Action Group - failed to persuade a High Court judge to halt the tree-felling programme.

He said the council had not fully consulted, and had failed to assess environmental impact, before launching the programme.

Council bosses disputed his allegations.

Mr Justice Gilbart said Mr Dillner's claim was ''in truth devoid of merit''.

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