With around two million trees within its boundaries, the city of Sheffield, England, is known as the ‘greenest city in Europe’. Of these, 36,000 are ‘street trees’, defined as those planted on pavements and other public rights of way. As of 2012, however, a private contractor was awarded a £2.2 billion contract by Sheffield City Council to upgrade the city’s roads over a 25-year period. This required the felling of over 6000 street trees by the end of August 2017. By 2015, this had sparked such widespread public opposition that the felling programme missed its 2017 deadline. For protesters, the central point of contention was and continues to be the seemingly indiscriminate felling of healthy trees. This article examines the specific forms of harm precipitating local public involvement in such opposition. In doing so, it explains the substantive injustices associated with the felling of street trees before focusing on the underpinning forms of procedural environmental injustice that have allowed for their ongoing production. This contributes to wider green criminological literature by demonstrating how public participation in decision-making is crucial for the attainment of environmental justice.
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