Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has voiced his support for a popular movement in Sheffield to prevent the council from up-rooting thousands of trees in the city.

The 54 year old star is joining fellow Sheffield-based musician Richard Hawley to DJ at an event to raise funds for the Sheffield Tree Action Group, a single-issue group formed to oppose Sheffield City Council’s plan to fell thousands of ‘dangerous’ trees and replace them with new ones.

Around 5,500 trees have been felled in the city in the last six years by the council’s contractor Amey, as part of its £2 billion ‘Streets Ahead’ project, aimed at improving roads and footpaths in the city. Planting new trees after removing the old ones, the council has stated that the trees earmarked for felling are either “dangerous, dead, diseased, dying, damaging or discriminatory.”

Jarvis CockerJarvis Cocker is DJing at a fundraising event for the protest movement

“They're trying to get rid of about half the trees on the streets, which is kind of crazy,” Cocker told the BBC’s Today programme on Friday (March 16th). “You can't really replace trees can you? I mean you're replacing them with a little sapling that is going to take at least 40 years to reach maturity.”

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“We've all seen that thing where the pavement is all buckling, but I don't think that is happening in half the cases of the street trees in Sheffield. I think that is what people are protesting about. It's the scale of which this is going on.”

While Cocker, whose 2001 single with Pulp was called 'The Trees', refused to be drawn on whether he would be taking part in the actual protests, he did say: “People are up in arms about it. Sheffield, I think it still has got memories of being an industrial city, trees are important, trees do produce the air that keeps us alive.”

The fundraising event ‘Get Off Our Tree!’ is being held tonight at Sheffield City Hall. Other local stars performing are Jon McClure, lead singer of Reverend & The Makers, and Cocker’s former Pulp bandmate Nick Banks.

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