Herein are first hand testimonies and stories of
people in Sheffield (and a bloke on a bike from Barnsley) who took direct
action to protect the environment or maybe just ‘their’ tree, or all our trees
on our streets. All defied their Council; some their neighbours and friends.
Some defied the High Court.
The book will also include photographs of the
protests and direct action that took place.
Crump was one of those protesting – and arrested for his trouble on several
occasions - against the felling of thousands of street trees, to be replaced with
saplings as part of Sheffield City Council's £2.2 billion highways improvement
The protests erupted after campaigners argued many of those
felled since 2012 had been removed unnecessarily. Protesters also said many
trees were felled because their roots were simply in the way of road
resurfacing methods. In their peaceful protests, protesters linked arms around
trees. During one of these protests Crump was placed inside a tree chipper, a
machine normally used for reducing large tree trunks into smaller woodchips.
Six protesters were arrested for the prevention of harm and
injury in a row about the tree-felling, held between November 2016 and February
2017 under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act. They were charged but the
criminal cases were discontinued, as it was found there were no grounds for
arrest following a Crown Prosecution Service review.
Three tree campaigners avoided jail after being found in
contempt of court for demonstrating against tree-felling work in Sheffield. Simon Crump, Benoit Benz Compin, and Fran Grace was taken to court by the city’s council as part of a long-running dispute over the city’s plans to
fell up to 17,000 trees. A judge at the high court in
Sheffield found that the trio had breached an injunction by entering “safety
zones” around trees to stop them being chopped down. The judge, Mr Justice
Males, gave both Crump and Compin a two-month prison sentence, suspended for
one year. He decided no further punishment was appropriate for Grace.
The controversial tree-felling programme was paused
following a series of confrontations that entailed the deployment of dozens of
police and arrests of protesters.