Protesters get climbing to halt tree cutting

Tree protest .. A protester up one of the trees at the junction of Bramall lane  and Asline Road
Tree protest .. A protester up one of the trees at the junction of Bramall lane and Asline Road

PROTESTERS halted work to cut back trees on Sheffield playing fields when they climbed on to branches.

Three camped in the ash and maple trees near Lowfield Primary School on Monday afternoon, saying there was “no need” to cut the trees and claiming the workers were making “an absolute mess”.

Activist Charlotte Deberry, aged 22, of Sharrow, said: “The trees are absolutely beautiful – you couldn’t see the road before they started. I would have got up into the trees myself if I didn’t have the baby with me.

“This is the park he plays in all the time. When he was little he used to sit under the trees, it was really lovely.”

Workers stopped the cutting because of the danger to the protesters. “It’s an achievement,” said Charlotte. “We’ve had people saying it’s a really good job that we’ve done this.”

The work is paving the way for the new U-Mix youth, community and sports facility, which is being built at Lowfield Open Space after local campaigning to ensure the scheme survived government spending cuts.

A council spokeswoman said: “Part of the construction phase has involved cutting back trees to allow for work on the site and it has been important the council undertakes this before birds begin nesting.

“This has been done through all the correct channels and the necessary planning processes and approval has been secured.”

A tree condition survey conducted by the council two years ago indicated the trees were probably planted around 30 years ago with “little or no maintenance undertaken”.

It was also found the trees formed a screen that could trap rubbish, lead to fly-tipping and provide a hiding place for drug-taking.