Activists trying to save Laman Street's fig trees say they believe Newcastle City Council's risk assessment studies are flawed, and have accused the council of stalling on a push to review its assessments.
Debate on the future of the trees has intensified since the council released a letter from its insurer, Statewide Mutual, that demanded the trees be removed by the end of August unless new information proving their safety could be provided.
Members of Save Our Figs said yesterday they had been pushing for more than seven weeks to have the council's testing methods reviewed, and accused council staff of "serious misrepresentation" in a memo defending the methods.
Meanwhile Cr Bob Cook repeated his calls for the trees to be removed, writing to activists saying they were "in denial" and "clutching at straws".
Laman Street Trees Working Party member Fee Mozeley raised concerns about the council's risk assessment testing methods on May 2, and lodged a motion that called for a review of those methods.
A council response, circulated internally on July 1, said Ms Mozeley's motion was "flawed" and also dismissed the findings of a report by a University of Melbourne academic that questioned the accuracy of the assessment methods favoured by the council.
Save Our Figs spokeswoman Caity Raschke said yesterday that the response "seriously misrepresented professional research into tree risk assessment methods in an outrageous attempt to discredit Ms Mozeley".
"On so many levels, this is symptomatic of what the community has had to cope with in this issue," Ms Raschke said.
It appears that the Save Our Figs group will have to fight against a renewed push to remove and replace the trees.
Cr Cook said it was the activists who had ignored clear evidence that the trees needed to go.
"I have had enough of trying to help people who will not accept the evidence that has been placed before them," he wrote.
The Newcastle Herald was unable to gain a response from the council yesterday.