Five year battle to save tree comes to an end

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A five-year battle to save a 100-year-old tree has ended with contractors felling the 55ft (16.8m) beech and a council looking at a £250,000-plus bill for the dispute.

The fight by some villagers in Irton, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, came to a head on September 20 when county council plans to cut the tree down were foiled by joiner Mark "Snoz" Snow, who climbed into its branches.

A succession of activists followed Mr Snow into the beech in a fortnight-long protest relay which came to an end yesterday when the last one - a young woman who called herself Beech Nut - came down.

The protest was halted following a court order and contractors then made short work of the tree, which was damaging drains and a wall at a nearby property.

A council spokesman said: "North Yorkshire County Council recognises that some residents of Irton oppose the felling of the tree. However, the council is obliged to comply with the terms of the court order, and has no choice but to remove the tree."

Beech Nut, 17, was cheered as she climbed down from the tree.

She said: "I think we just have to accept that there's just not really any more we can do for this particular tree.

"It's very emotional but we're going to ensure that this isn't the end. We're going to save some more trees. It's been a real journey."

North Yorkshire County Council is understood to have run up a £250,000 legal bill over the dispute even before the sit-in protest began, although a spokesman has stressed much of this would be covered by insurance.