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Campaigners save Important Oak trees

Claire Sheppard at Southwark Green Party

Local campaigners and Green Party members are delighted after Southwark Council’s plan to cut down two healthy oak trees, thought to be over 100 years old, was rejected.

The trees are in Sydenham Hill Wood in Dulwich. Southwark Council announced in January 2019 that the trees should be felled so that a bridge could be repaired. The trees were due to be cut down in November 2020. 

But members of the Save the Footbridge Oaks Campaign set up camp, guarding the trees day and night. 

On the day the trees were due to be chopped down two men arrived with a chainsaw but were fended off by the group.  And a petition from campaigners to save the trees has achieved nearly seven thousand signatures. 

The Save Oaks campaign produced an alternative proposal for the bridge repairs, arguing the trees could be saved by using hand tools instead of bringing large machinery into the woods.  Southwark rejected the proposal, claiming it would cost too much.  

But following objections to the council plans, a Tree Preservation Order was put in place.

Lambeth Green Councillor Pete Elliott said: “Well done to the amazing and dedicated campaigners who went well beyond what should have been necessary to stop this decision.”

Claire Sheppard, Green Party candidate for Lambeth and Southwark said: “This planning application was rejected owing to the tireless work of the Save Oaks campaigners over the last few years and recent months. Despite intimidation, they stood firm and their bravery means these trees will be standing for decades to come. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and lodged objections. I urge local residents, if you don’t want to have to work this hard to save trees, vote for the Green Party.”

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