Stark Warning For People Planning To Cut Down Protected Trees

PUBLISHED: 15:44 19 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:34 02 June 2010

ANYONE planning on cutting down or damaging protected trees have been served a stark warning by council lawyers. East Cambridgeshire District Council s legal team took Adam Lines of Cambridge Road, Ely, to court for the two offences relating to unauthoris

ANYONE planning on cutting down or damaging protected trees have been served a stark warning by council lawyers.

East Cambridgeshire District Council's legal team took Adam Lines of Cambridge Road, Ely, to court for the two offences relating to unauthorised works to a pine tree protected by the Ely Conservation Area and a mulberry tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

The offences took place on October 20 and 21 last year. The works included depositing and storing material causing compaction of the soil in the root protection zone of the trees, unauthorised digging within protected tree rooting areas and removal of roots, both contrary to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The court found Lines guilty and fined him £300 for the first offence and £500 for the second offence, with £888.59 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.

Giles Hughes, head of Planning & Sustainable Development Services, said: "As always, the district council takes no pleasure in its victory at court, as we always hope to work to settle things before they reach this stage. However, cases like this serve as a warning to others that you can't damage, prune or cut down trees that are protected without consent. We have a duty to protect our local environment and we are here to try to find solutions to problems.

"In this case, Mr Lines should have contacted the council to make an application for consent at least six weeks in advance of the works being carried out so we could have balanced the value of the trees against the reasons given for the works. We sincerely hope we will not have to go to court on an issue like this again.

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