IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Campaigners sleep in Highbury trees facing the chop

Islington branch of Extinction Rebellion take action to protect ancient chestnuts, sycamores and a Norwegian maple near proposed housing development

09 October, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

An Extinction Rebellion campaigner in one of the trees at Dixon Clark Court, near Highbury Corner

ENVIRONMENTAL activists have set up camp in a crop of trees in Highbury in a bid to stop the council felling them.

Members of the Islington branch of Extinction Rebellion (XR) suspended hammocks in the trees at Dixon Clark Court near Highbury Corner on Sunday.

The Tribune reported last week that the ancient chestnuts, sycamores and a Norwegian maple were due for the chop on Tuesday.

This did not happen and the trees were still left untouched last night (Thursday).

Islington’s housing chief, Diarmaid Ward, has defended the council’s plans as it is part of wider development which will provide 41 homes, two-thirds of which will be let at affordable rates.

The under-threat trees that could be felled by the council

Vania Flaccomio, one of the XR protesters sleeping in the trees, said: “The council has announced a climate emergency. Now they must put this into action. All new building projects need to be re-evaluated.”

The activists are claiming squatters’ rights on the land this week.

Cllr Ward said: “Demand for council housing massively outstrips supply and far too many families are in increasingly desperate positions. We are doing everything we can to address this very serious problem, including building the 27 new council homes planned at Dixon Clark Court.

“The council does not take the decision to remove trees lightly and we always pledge to replace more trees than are removed. In this case, we are planting 63 new trees in the borough to replace those felled, including 13 in Dixon Clark Court.”

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