Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield council's tree-felling project pledges to 'regain trust'

Members of the public look on as contractors cut down a tree in Rustlings Road Image copyright PA
Image caption Council contractors felling trees in Rustlings Road

A council which sparked fury with a controversial tree-felling operation has pledged to "regain the trust" of the people of Sheffield.

Several protesters were arrested during the dawn work to cut down eight trees in Rustlings Road last year.

The city council, which apologised, said it now planned to "work better with residents to get the job done".

The felling was part of a wider scheme to improve streets and remove diseased, damaging or dangerous trees.

There were angry scenes in November when work began to fell trees in Rustlings Road at 05:00 GMT.

Two women arrested were charged under trade union legislation and are due to appear at Sheffield Magistrates' Court later in January.

It was the latest in a series of stand-offs between contractors and protesters in the city.

The Streets Ahead project is a 25-year agreement between the council and contractors Amey to upgrade Sheffield's roads, pavements, street lights and bridges.

The council said it wanted to work in a "collaborative way... to regain the trust of people in Sheffield".

Image caption The project has provoked protests about tree-felling, including here in Bannerdale Road, Sheffield

The council had already promised that tree felling would not now begin before 07:00. The advice of an Independent Tree Panel is to be published before work begins on replacing other trees.

A working group is also to look at plans to chop down trees in the Western Road First World War Memorial, planted to honour school pupils killed in World War One.

The council is also "to retain and improve" four other war memorials containing trees.

"Our commitment to the street trees programme remains as strong as ever, and the job has got to be done. We know we have to do better when it comes to working with people," said the council.

The council plans to replace an estimated 10,000 trees out of 36,000 on the city's streets.

Felled trees are replaced and additional ones planted, said the council.

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