A Bewdley man who ignored a protection order and caused significant damage to a tree has been fined almost £3,000.
Richard Softley of Threlfall Drive, Bewdley, pleaded guilty, at Kidderminster Magistrates Court at a hearing on September 23, to contravening a tree preservation order.
Nina Dorrell, prosecuting for Wyre Forest District Council told magistrates how Softley had instructed tree surgeons to undertake significant works to a protected mature horse chestnut, located in his neighbour’s garden.
The court heard the 40-year-old had not gained prior permission from the council to have the work done despite knowing that the tree was protected by a tree preservation order.
The unauthorised works inflicted significant damage on the protected tree, and vitally important branches were removed leaving the tree unable to thrive.
Softley was ordered by the court to pay almost £3,000. This included a fine, compensation to his neighbour, victim surcharge and prosecution costs.
Councillor Ian Hardiman, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration said: “Tree preservation orders are put in place to protect trees for the public’s enjoyment.
“In general they make it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree without the council’s permission.
“We hope this case acts as a reminder to tree owners that they need to know if any preservation orders are in effect. If there are, then they need to apply for consent to carry out any work or they could find themselves in court.
“Regrettably trees that have taken generations to grow and have offered significant visual character to an area can be easily and irreversibly harmed.”