Activists occupy tree in Bristol to stop it being felled

Activists have occupied a tree in Bristol to stop it from being felled. Credit: Save The Ashley Down Oak (STADO)

Activists have occupied a 100-year-old tree in Bristol to stop it from being felled.

Individuals have scaled the tree, which is located in Ashley Down Road, in opposition to Bristol City Council’s plans to remove it.

The authority issued a felling notice on the tree in January, citing nearby property damage.

But the notice sparked a backlash from concerned environmentalists and residents, who believe the tree improves the area and “makes the street a better place to live”.

Campaigners are fighting to save the tree from being removed. Credit: STADO

Tessa Holmes, who lives in the area, said: "This grand old holm oak provides so much to our community. 

“It's canopy is home to native wildlife, it absorbs the noise pollution of the busy road, it holds the ground beneath our feet and improves the air we breathe.

“It should not be so easy for the council to fell a tree which has stood here longer than any of us."

Two activists from the Save The Ashley Down Oak (STADO) protest group have since scaled the tree - and have said they will stay there for as long as necessary.

The activists have built a platform to sit in while up in the tree. Credit: STADO

Torin Menzies explained: “We at STADO have built a platform in the tree and have begun occupying it. 

“We will continue to do so for however long is necessary; we will not allow Bristol City Council to cut down this tree."

Bristol City Council said an independent expert had recommended the tree be removed, after pervious efforts to stop it damaging a neighbouring house had failed.

A spokesperson said its removal was "unavoidable".

“While the tree being removed is sadly unavoidable, Bristol’s commitment to tackling the climate and ecological emergencies can be seen in this part of Bristol and across the whole city," the spokesperson said.

“Just round the corner, almost 250 new trees will be planted at Sefton Park Primary school next month – following on from 60,000 trees planted in the last five years through One Tree Per Child.

"A further 600 trees are being planted during this growing season within around one mile of Ashley Down Road.

“Additional information on this issue will be made available to local residents, councillors, and the Bristol Tree Forum in coming days. In the meantime, people in the tree should vacate it.’’

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