Sheffield’s Labour council has just been ‘shredded’ in a film about the tree saga

A clip from a film about the Sheffield trees saga. It shows a man with a Jeremy Corbyn mask and a person in a squirrel costume
Support us and go ad-free

The ongoing Sheffield tree saga has become a David and Goliath battle. It’s seen a Labour-led council, flanked by a private contractor, fighting against residents and campaigners. Now, a film collective from the city has turned the story into a short documentary.

The tree-felling programme

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 anti-union” behaviour of the Labour council, and public health concerns. The council argues that the work is necessary to “avoid catastrophic financial consequences”.


Sheffield-based WellRedFilms has put together a short documentary about the saga. Presented by David McClelland and produced by Alan Story, Shredded gives an overview of the situation. It also shows some Labour members are abandoning the party due to the council’s actions.

As former Labour member Danuta Reah says in Shredded:

I left Sheffield Labour Party because their behaviour over the trees made me realise that Sheffield Council is ruled by a small group of people who are not acting in accordance with the principles of the Labour Party, or in the best interests of the people of Sheffield…

With footage from tree felling sites, protests, and a tongue-in-cheek cameo from ‘Jeremy Corbyn’, Shredded takes a wry but sobering look at the council’s actions and the implications for the Labour Party more broadly:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Meanwhile, the situation in Sheffield has become highly charged over the course of the council’s tree-felling programme.

A controversial council

As The Canary has been documenting, people have been vigorously campaigning against the felling of trees. On 15 August 2017, following a court case it brought against three campaigners, the council said that anyone who tried to protest “inside a safety zone” around the tree-felling area would be in contempt of court and “face the risk of a fine or imprisonment”.

As The Canary previously revealed, emails show South Yorkshire Police “taking orders” directly from Amey over its operations. More recently, The Canary also exposed how the council was running a surveillance operation against campaigners and residents; one which campaigners believe could be illegal.

Meanwhile, Sheffield City Council’s position on its tree-felling programme has repeatedly flip-flopped. As The Canary previously reported, the council claimed in a 2016 court case that it estimated just over 6,000 trees would need felling. It also accused campaigners of “exaggerated” claims that 10,000 trees faced the chop. In March, it released its ‘Tree Management Programme’, which stated that:

The service provider [Amey] shall replace Highway Trees… at a rate of not less than 200 per year so that 17,500 Highway Trees are replaced by the end of the Term…

All this from a supposedly ‘Labour’ council. Hence why Shredded will ring true to many people who have been following the saga

A grassroots perspective

Alan Story of WellRedFilms told The Canary:

We wanted to challenge Labour Party members in Sheffield to ask themselves the very pertinent question: how come average Labour Party members cannot control their own Labour-controlled local government? And in less than 12 hours a debate on that very question has broken out in one Facebook group here.

With that in mind, Labour may do well to listen to what’s been documented in Shredded. Because, as with all WellRedFilms productions, it serves as an important public record of events from a grassroots perspective. A point of view Sheffield Labour Party appears to have forgotten about.

Get Involved!

– Support WellRedFilms.

Featured image via WellRedFilms – screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

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