Environment secretary Michael Gove has told a council to halt plans to chop down thousands of trees as he praised a regional daily’s “persistent and persuasive” campaigning on the issue.
Sheffield City Council has embarked on a controversial scheme to remove around 6,000 trees from city streets as part of a 25-year highway maintenance programme.
But residents have complained bitterly about the plan – which has involved ‘dawn raids’ on residential areas with householders woken at 5am and ordered to move their cars to make way for tree-fellers.
The Yorkshire Post took up their concerns – and the newspaper now appears to have won a significant victory after Mr Gove effectively ordered to council to call a halt to the programme.
In a letter to the council leader, Julie Dore, Mr Gove accused the council of ignoring residents’ views – and the Post’s campaign.
“Despite the strength of local feeling, and some persistent and persuasive campaigning by The Yorkshire Post, the call from local residents to end the felling appears to have gone unanswered,” he wrote.
“If our aim is to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, we must examine how our actions impact the next generation. The destruction of thousands of mature trees from the Steel City will surely damage our children’s rightful inheritance.
“To that end, I would call on the council to listen to the people of Sheffield and end the tree-felling and replacement programme.”
Mr Gove’s intervention came after The Post raised the issue with him personally during a visit to Yorkshire last month.
Editor James Mitchinson expressed his delight at the move in a series of Twitter posts.
He wrote: “We made a difference today. The Yorkshire Post did what it’s meant to do for the people and communities we serve. Proud to #makeadifference.”