Councillor arrested in new protest over Sheffield tree felling

SEVEN people, including a Green Party councillor, were arrested today as they tried to prevent a tree being cut down in Sheffield's Nether Edge district.

A councillor has been arrested at a tree felling protest in Sheffield

Councillor Alison Teal and six other demonstrators were held under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act, the same piece of legislation used against two protesters arrested last year.

Sheffield Council claimed the protest had costing taxpayers money. Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment, said the demonstrators had been arrested because they refused to leave the safety cordon, and had posed “a danger” to themselves and workers from council contractor Amey.

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A councillor has been arrested at a tree felling protest in Sheffield

He said: "The council is very disappointed that this disruption of lawful highway work is continuing. We have had the programme endorsed by the courts following legal action by the protest group but the disruption continues to cause unnecessary delay. This delay and disruption is likely to cost the council taxpayers of Sheffield a significant amount of money," he added.

South Yorkshire Police said it was called to the street at 9.30am by the council and had arrested seven people on suspicion of preventing lawful work.

Ms Teal was elected in 2014 as a councillor for the Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, edging out Labour's third candidate by eight votes.

Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, who intends to stand in the Sheffield Central constituency at the next general election, defended the actions of her party colleague.

A councillor has been arrested at a tree felling protest in Sheffield

She tweeted: "Solidarity to @alisonclareteal and the other ChippinghouseSeven - arrested for peacefully trying to protect their community #SaveSheffTrees"

Coun Teal is the partner of Simon Crump, one of two men arrested and later charged over a tree-felling protest in Marden Road, Nether Edge, last year.

Two pensioners were due to appear in court last month over a protest against the pre-dawn felling of trees in Rustlings Road, Endcliffe, but the charges against them were dropped.

The council has since apologised for how it went about removing the trees that morning.