A Case Against Plymouth City Council Over The Armada Way Trees

by STRAW Plymouth

A Case Against Plymouth City Council Over The Armada Way Trees

by STRAW Plymouth
STRAW Plymouth
Case Owner
We are a campaign group called STRAW, fighting to save the remaining trees on Armada Way and attempting to hold Plymouth City Council accountable for their actions of the felling of our trees.
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STRAW Plymouth
Case Owner
We are a campaign group called STRAW, fighting to save the remaining trees on Armada Way and attempting to hold Plymouth City Council accountable for their actions of the felling of our trees.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: March 23, 2024

No Winners

At the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on 19th and 20th or March, David Elvin KC, sitting as a High Court Judge decided that our case was academic and should not be heard.

We are considering an…

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UPDATE

You may have seen the media coverage of the shocking destruction of our urban forest on Armada Way on the night of Tuesday March 14th. Thanks to a last-minute high court injunction, which we were able to serve at 1am, the felling was immediately stopped. Sadly it was too late for 117 trees which Plymouth City Council (PCC) managed to destroy in just 5 hours. 

It was truly unbelievable. We have now filed for a judicial review to hold PCC to account for what they have done and before this, we have a hearing to determine the fate of the dozen or so trees currently covered by the interim injunction. This will now, almost certainly be a long and expensive journey we had hoped to avoid, but the shocking actions of our council left this only option. We were covered by every major national newspaper on the 16th of March along with radio interviews with Jeremy Vine, Nick Ferrari, and Adrian Chiles and had TV interviews with BBC News, ITV News and Channel 5 News. We are proud that we have saved some of the trees and hope that the death of the others won't be for nothing. Their sacrifice will hopefully save other trees from the same fate and set a national precedent for other urban trees.

https://youtu.be/A4YbRDr3mLU

https://facebook.com/strawPlymouth

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We are raising money for legal support to bring a case against Plymouth City Council (PCC) who are planning on the almost entire removal of an urban forest in the very heart of our City Centre.

Our initial fund raiser is for £2,000 but for a judicial review we will be looking to raise £30,000

We started a campaign group called STRAW (Save the Trees of Armada Way) to try and urge the council to rethink the plans for Armada Way and to incorporate as many of the 137 healthy, mature, much loved trees as possible. The campaign has gathered much local support with the largest petition Plymouth has ever seen (currently 16,000 signatures), support from local and national tree and environmental experts, and forming a passionate and knowledgeable group of local people to come together to share our feelings and information about the issue.

PCC has failed to follow their own policies in many areas (critically public consultation) and has cut corners to rush through this scheme in order to receive some funding from the DfT.  Since starting the campaign group PCC has failed to respond properly to scrutiny requests and FOI requests and has embarked upon a "meaningful community engagement" which was not fit for purpose and probably a box ticking exercise. We are hoping that with some legal support we can bring a case against PCC to stop the crazy decision to remove these largely healthy mature trees.


Update 6

STRAW Plymouth

March 23, 2024

No Winners

At the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on 19th and 20th or March, David Elvin KC, sitting as a High Court Judge decided that our case was academic and should not be heard.

We are considering an appeal and are grateful for the continued support of all the folk who believe PCC should be held to account! 

This, as you can imagine is deeply disappointing, especially since he was very critical of the way in with Plymouth City Council (PCC) has handled this litigation. He took the unusual step of accepting undertakings from PCC over a review into the handling of the scheme and awarded us costs meaning the council pay our costs and we pay none of theirs. Quite telling.

Much of the information required for the case was only provided to us by PCC in the days and hours prior to the hearing, some never appeared. 

It is our opinion that the case should have been heard because it is not academic, but even if it were, there are exceptional circumstance surrounding the conduct of PCC officers before and after the felling.

Unfortunately, what this decision has done is to set a precedent for public bodies to make unlawful decisions, carry out irreversible acts, and then be immune from legal challenge through judicial review. It is extremely concerning and probably far-reaching, not just for environmental cases but could apply to a variety of decisions by public bodies. Not only that, but it has shown that councils can help their own case in avoiding repercussions by behaving badly in the aftermath, further restricting any chances of a case being brought against them.

Basically, what PCC has achieved is a blueprint for irreversible, unlawful damage with limited legal consequences.


Update 5

STRAW Plymouth

Feb. 1, 2024

It's a date!

The courts have now given us a date for the 2 day judicial review hearing! 

We will be at the Royal Courts of Justice on March 19th and 20th. Anyone who would like to attend the hearing is welcome along.

Please keep sharing details of our fundraiser with people who you think might like to contribute to support us!

Update 4

STRAW Plymouth

Nov. 24, 2023

🌳 🌳Armada Way Trees Are Not Safe Yet!🌳🌳

Only a few days left of the consultation on the new Armada Way plans. Please, if you want to complete the survey, make sure you do soon! You have until this Tuesday (28th) at 5pm.

As you may know, despite the upset and anger expressed by so many people in March, Plymouth City Council are proposing to remove yet more trees from Armada Way! 6 trees are due to be removed as part of the proposed plan.

For details on the 6 trees proposed to be removed please read our Every Tree Matters page. And for our guidance on completing the survey take a look at this page. You can find a link to the survey from either of these pages.

Update 3

STRAW Plymouth

July 12, 2023

Plymouth City Council Want Judicial Review Withdrawn

Plymouth City Council have unsuccessfully applied to the courts to have the judicial review withdrawn.

PCC are still publicly defending their actions over the felling of the trees and the run up to it. Despite this, they do not want to defend themselves in the courts. 

Following much talk by the leader in a recent council meeting, claiming the judicial review is now academic, PCC applied to have the judicial review thrown out. A high court judge took just one day to respond, informing them that their application was 'misconceived', that the judicial review was not academic and should go ahead. The judge also told PCC that even if they are successful in the judicial review, they must cover all cost of their application.

Update 2

STRAW Plymouth

May 24, 2023

Permission Granted!

The court has granted us permission to go ahead with the judicial review on all our grounds!


In Plymouth, the council have agreed to redesign the plan and incorporate all the remaining trees. Although we will be keeping a close eye on this situation. 

Update 1

STRAW Plymouth

March 31, 2023

Injunction Held! The trees are safe for now!

As you may have heard, we have had our injunction, to keep the remaining trees on Armada Way, safe by a High Court Judge upheld! PCC wanted to over-turn the injunction and finish what they started.

We will be asking for permission to have the judicial review soon and believe this will then take place in 3-4 months. 

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and made this (really scary) legal challenge possible!


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