Doncaster tree campaigners have alleged Covid-19 breach fines rescinded
Four residents campaigning against the felling of healthy street trees in Doncaster have had fines rescinded for allegedly breaching Covid-19 restrictions.
Kate Needham, a member of Doncaster Green Party, was initially arrested on Middlefield Road, Bessacarr and let go after police were called to campaigners standing by under-threat trees.
A further three people were also handed fines for allegedly breaching lockdown restrictions.
So far, 60 trees along the road have been felled and four remain standing. Campaigners said they would continue to peacefully protest and adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
Council workers were instructed to bring down the trees in order to fix the pavements despite pressure from campaigners and intervention from a prominent environmental barrister.
Ms Needham said they were still awaiting a response from Doncaster Council and urged them to adopt ‘alternative solutions’ to fixing pavements without having to rip up trees.
She said the felling had caused division on the street as some wanted them chopped down and others didn’t but added the council ‘didn’t offer an alternative solution’.
The council have previously said they can carry out the work and have checked with the Forestry Commission to ask if they could proceed.
“What we want is the council to be spending the time to look at ways to save these trees like they’ve started to do in Sheffield – look at alternative solutions where they can mend the pavement without ripping up the tree,” Ms Needham said.
“It’s ridiculous for them to chop down 64 trees because they said the pavements need doing – there are other ways. They’ve not provided any evidence where they have done any investigations.
“These four trees are a symbol of all the trees in Doncaster. Until the council says this isn’t their policy in mending pavements then all the trees in the borough are at risk.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed the fixed penalty notices had been withdrawn after a review found they did not breach Covid-19 regulations.
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