People’s reactions to the resignation of a key councillor in the Sheffield trees saga are interesting

A tweet about the resignation of a Sheffield Labour councillor

A Labour councillor at the heart of the ongoing Sheffield trees saga has resigned from his position on the city council’s cabinet. And people on social media haven’t exactly been sympathetic…

The quietening of chainsaws?

Labour-led Sheffield City Council and its contractor Amey are chopping down public trees in the city. Local residents aren’t happy because of the environmental impact, the “Thatcherite” behaviour of the Labour council, and public health concerns.

The council paused the tree-felling programme on 26 March. As the Guardian reported, it said it was doing this because of:

the actions of a handful of people unlawfully entering the safety zones where tree replacement work is being carried out.

Amid the quietening of the chainsaws, the drama has continued. In the recent local elections, Labour lost two seats to the Green Party and two to the Lib Dems.

But now, Labour councillor Bryan Lodge has quit as cabinet member for environment and Streetscene (the department responsible for the tree felling programme).

One for the chop

As the Yorkshire Post reported, Lodge quit his role on Tuesday 8 May. In a statement on Facebook, he said:

Read on...

Just wanted to say, it’s been an interesting/challenging two years. To the Sheffield City Council officers – you have been awesome. Never let the truth get lost in the aggressive, nasty and personal abuse directed at us.

I’m proud to have worked with such a dedicated, hardworking and professional team of people… We need to get the people of Sheffield, all the people, back on board to realise the benefits of this biggest ever investment in the infrastructure of the city…

I hope that in years to come, others can hold their heads high because I know I can. To the campaigners, I respect your passion but can’t condone the behaviour. Respect plays both ways.

Unimpressed

Some people on social media were not exactly shedding a tear at the news of Lodge’s departure:

Others pointed to a broader problem:

And puns inevitably followed:

Sheffield: the eye of a political storm

As The Canary has been documenting, Sheffield has become the eye of a political storm. The council is undertaking a 25-year, £2bn highway maintenance programme which includes the care and felling of trees. There have been ongoing protests from campaigners, opposition councillors, and residents over the programme.

These demonstrations have been highly charged: one saw two pensioners arrested, and another saw local residents reportedly face off against over 30 police officers, private security, and heavy plant machinery.

During this saga, the council took three campaigners to court to prevent them taking “unlawful direct action or from encouraging others to take direct action”. After a judge ruled in favour of the council, it is now reportedly seeking costs from two of the campaigners of £27,000.

It’s not over yet

Meanwhile, emails revealed South Yorkshire Police “taking orders” directly from Amey over its operations. Recently, The Canary exposed how the council was running a surveillance operation against campaigners and residents; one which campaigners believe could be illegal. A petition has also been launched, calling on the Labour Party in Sheffield to ballot its members over the tree felling programme.

Lodge’s departure is interesting timing. Following a mild embarrassment in the local elections, has Lodge fallen on his sword, Amber Rudd-style, for the greater good of Labour-led Sheffield City Council? If so, it’s unlikely to wash with many campaigners, who believe the only solution to the tree felling saga is root and branch reform within Sheffield Labour Party.

Get Involved!

– Read more of The Canary‘s coverage on the Sheffield trees saga.

– Sign No Stump City’s petition.

Featured image via Jepps Books – Twitter

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed