15 August 2017
A High Court judge today ruled that the Council had been successful in seeking injunctions against those trespassing within safety barriers around tree replacement works.
Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene at Sheffield City Council said:
“We have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Sheffield to do everything we can to avoid catastrophic financial consequences if the Streets Ahead work is not completed by the end of the year.
“Court action has been a last resort option for us. We had no choice but to pursue these injunctions to stop a small number of people from causing major delays, not only to tree works, but also to work on roads, footpaths and street lights across the city. We know from regular feedback that the majority of people in Sheffield support the Streets Ahead programme and want us to get the job done.
“The Court decision is an extremely important step forward for the residents and council taxpayers of Sheffield. We’re pleased that the Court has backed the Council’s right to carry out its lawful work on the city’s roads and pavements and has ruled that anyone deliberately preventing this is acting unlawfully.
“We will continue to support the right to peaceful protest, but this is different from trespassing, preventing vital highway works from continuing. We never wanted to be in this position and those stepping inside the safety zones were given numerous opportunities to prevent us seeking injunctions.
“Following today’s decision, anyone trespassing inside a safety zone after the 22nd August will be in contempt of court and face the risk of a fine and/or imprisonment. We hope that it doesn’t come to that and people will now choose to respect the court’s decision. In addition, we will be looking to seek associated costs and damages which will be covered at a later hearing.
“To ensure the programme can continue to be delivered within the intended timescales, we will now accelerate the work to get our roads, pavements, lights and trees upgraded. We will also continue to talk to the protestors, as we always have. However, following the Court ruling, the nature of these discussions will now need to be reviewed. “Again, we reiterate our invite to those interested in finding out more about the Streets Ahead programme to come to Sheffield and speak to us directly.”
The full judgment can be viewed here. D92LS739 – Sheffield CC v FAIRHALL CRUMP Ors draft judgment