Dulwich tree defenders on 24-hour vigil after Southwark injunction to oust them rejected in High Court

By Lizzie May

Tree defenders camped in front of ancient oaks are celebrating after the High Court refused an injunction to oust them.

Southwark council failed to get the go-ahead from the High Court to remove campaigners Save The Footbridge Oaks, who have been keeping a vigil on two oak trees next to Cox’s Walk Footbridge in Sydenham Hill Wood. 

Campaigners are delighted the injunction was rejected by Mrs Justice Cutts of the High Court yesterday, Tuesday. They have vowed to continue to defend the trees peacefully on a ‘round-the-clock tree watch’.

The two trees were set to be cut down to provide enough room for staff to safely repair nearby Cox’s Walk Footbridge.

This refusal by the courts comes days before the council’s two-year felling order expires.

Save Oaks launched a petition that now has more than 6,250 signatures – more than half since the beginning of November. 

Two campaigners, sisters Susan and Colette Haseldine were represented in court yesterday by Lawyers for Nature.

 Southwark said the faults and subsequent risks to the footbridge have increased significantly in recent months.

A statement from the campaigners said: “The peaceful vigil will continue to defend the trees as it successfully did on the day, November 16 th when chainsaws were turned around and left the site.

“The local authority made fresh claims to the court that the footbridge, part of Cox’s Walk, is now in imminent danger of collapse. Although the crossing has been closed since January, no measures or signage are in place to restrict walkers from passing under the allegedly dangerous structure.”

The Save Oaks movement started in July 2019 over the plans to axe the trees. Members offered an alternative engineering design which has less impact on the nature reserve.


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