Protesters turn out as council workmen chop down trees on Doncaster street

Protesters turned out today (Wednesday) as Doncaster Council workmen carried out work to remove roadside trees.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 3:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 10:36 am

Campaigners including Green Party members took to the street on Middlefield Road, Bessacarr, with flags and banners carrying the message: “Leave the trees.”

Workmen have already started to remove the lime trees which line the road, but are understood to have not removed any more of them since yesterday. Today they were descibed as removing the stumps of trees that had already been removed.

Environmental campaigner Deborah Gibson was among 12 campaigners on the street.

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Tree protesters at Middlefield Road, Bessacarr, who are opposed to the removal of the mature lime trees that line the street. Submitted picture

She admitted that the opinion of the residents on the street was divided between those who wanted to trees to remain, and those who wanted them cutting down to prevent damage to the pavement and to the walls.

She said: “We’ve spoken to the workmen and to the residents, and the workmen stopped after we asked them not to cut any more trees down.

“I can understand the people who say they want the trees removing, but I don’t see why they are doing them all at once. If they did it over 15 years, taking some down while others grew, no one would notice. But as it is they’re destroying a wildlife corridor, taking mature trees out and repacing them with immature ones. We think it’s an outrage.

“it’s not just about residents though. Other people walk along that street too, and there had been no consultation with the wider area.”

A protester at Middlefield Road, Bessacarr, who opposed to the removal of the mature lime trees that line the street speaks to council workers. Submitted picture

There are 64 trees on the street in total.

Doncaster Council says most residents were in favour of the work, carried out because of ‘increasing tree root damage’.

Gill Gillies, assistant director of environment said: “Based on all available options and, after careful consideration, we have made what we believe to be the best decision in the interests of all parties. We will be minimising disruption by planting a smaller species of replacement trees as we swap out the existing lime trees.

“The footpaths were identified as a priority for resurfacing, predominantly as a result of increasing tree root damage. It is also very likely that root regrowth would quickly resume under the new path and cause surface damage if the existing trees were retained.”