Sheffield tree felling campaigners lose last-ditch legal bid

Dave Dillner and other campaigners have lost their latest legal battle
Dave Dillner and other campaigners have lost their latest legal battle

A campaigner who has led a protest against Sheffield’s tree-felling programme has failed in a last-ditch attempt to block the project.

Campaigner Dave Dillner and other residents have fought to stop Sheffield Council’s ‘Streets Ahead’ scheme run by contractor Amey, which has seen more than 3,000 trees cut down and replaced since work began in 2012.

Dave, of Heeley Bank Road, Heeley, took his fight to London’s Appeal Court, where lawyers challenged a previous review of the scheme, which was rejected by the High Court in May.

They argued no environmental impact assessment had been carried out and also said Sheffield residents had a right to be consulted properly about the scheme – and were not.

But his appeal was rejected by Lord Justice Lewison, who said it was ‘too late’ to raise the impact assessment argument when the project has been ongoing since 2012 and the need for it could not apply to individual trees.

The judge also said the High Court’s ruling that the council’s consultation efforts were ‘adequate’ could not be challenged.

He added: “The challenge is a challenge to the Streets Ahead programme which had been going on for many years at the date of the judicial review hearing.

“The decision to fell individual trees cannot possibly require an impact assessment.”

Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, welcomed the court’s decision.

He said: “We only hope now that this will be end of the legal challenges. We request that we are now able to move forward with the Independent Tree Panel process and renewing our street trees, so that future generations enjoy the same benefits from them as we have.

“We would once again request that when staff are removing trees that they do not face any delays, harassment or abuse on site. If this does occur this will not be tolerated and we will take action to ensure our employees safety.”