Following Lord Paul Scriven’s questions to the Government about Government plans to give power to communities to stop unnecessary tree felling, the Minister has refused a request to meet with tree campaigners and hear first-hand how the Government can help.
He also asked the Government if they will look at changing planning laws to help local communities not just in Sheffield but nationwide to have more of a say and power in putting a stop to unnecessary tree felling which was also refused.
The Minister’s comments were echoed by Lord Blunkett stating that it was a purely local matter and it did not need new laws for local people to have a greater say to save much loved trees.
"I am all for localism but when local powers are stacked in the hand of a council that isn't listening then national laws have to be looked at.
"It all well and good for the Government and Lord Blunkett to say this is a local matter but when his Labour colleagues that run Sheffield City Council are refusing to listen to communities something else needs to be done to allow people to have their voices heard.”
The felling of thousands of mature highway trees in Sheffield has faced massive public opposition and following national and international media coverage it was branded a 'national scandal' by Sheffield's Liberal Democrat MP Nick Clegg.
Since June last year numerous petitions amounting to tens of thousands of signatures have been handed in to Sheffield City Council and have been totally ignored by the Labour Council.
Tree campaigners have had to go to extreme lengths to have their voices heard, resulting in a High Court Injuction being taken out against Sheffield City Council to stop the tree felling.