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    Company fined for damaging 100-year-old trees while digging cable trench

    A utility company contractor whose workers severed the roots of four protected trees in Mill Hill has been ordered to pay more than £7,000 in fine and costs by magistrates.

    Kelly Communications Ltd, based in Wembley, pleaded guilty to four offences of contravening tree preservation orders (TPOs) after its employees damaged the root networks of two mature oak trees, a thorn tree and a chestnut tree in and around Field Mead.

    A spokesman for Barnet Council’s Planning, Trees and Enforcement Team, which brought the prosecution, said: “In March this year workers were digging a service trench for telecommunications cables when they damaged the root networks

    “Each of the trees was protected by a TPO. In accordance with the legislation the orders prohibit certain activities, including the cutting of roots, without permission from the local planning authority. The larger of the trees are estimated to be over 100 years old.”

    The company was ordered to pay a fine of £3,000 as well as £4,398 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to four offences of contravening TPOs during a hearing at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on 6 December.

    Councillor Melvin Cohen, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “Our trees are a highly valued part of the borough’s character and Tree Preservation Orders are a very important way of safeguarding them from damage.

    “This prosecution sends out a very clear message that anyone contravening one of these orders can expect to face action.”

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