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Two men have been hit with £6,000 in fines following illegal work to a mature ash tree in Glenfield, which was protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

Arboriculturist Mr Lee Ward of Mountsorrel undertook extensive work on the tree under the instruction of Mr Paul Powell at Steyning Crescent, Glenfield. Despite being protected by a Tree Preservation Order since 1990 along with other trees in the area, Mr Ward topped the tree at around six metres in height. ‘Topping’ a tree is work to completely remove all of the trees limbs.

Picture: Blaby District Council

A Tree Protection Order protects trees which are considered to make a significant contribution to the local surroundings. As no such consent had been granted or even applied for, the works were illegal.

Blaby District Council’s Planning Enforcement team investigated the work and considered that it had: “far exceeded any works which may have been reasonably authorised under an application.” The unauthorised works were also judged to be: “wilful damage by topping a tree in such a manner as to be likely to destroy it.”

As a result of the severity of these illegal works, and the condition that the tree had been left in, the council prosecuted both Mr Ward and Mr Powell. At Leicester Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2022 and 24 August 2022 both were fined for their involvement in the works.

Mr Ward, who undertook the works without consent was ordered to pay a fine of £1,600, with £980 in costs and a victim surcharge of £160. Mr Powell, who instructed the works without consent was ordered to pay a fine of £1,360, with £1,620 in costs and a victim surcharge of £160.

Councillor Ben Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Planning Delivery and Enforcement and Corporate Transformation, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this prosecution and whilst these fines cannot bring the tree back to the thriving condition it once was in, we hope it sends a clear message to anyone that Tree Preservation Orders are there for a reason.

“We can and will act if residents ignore these orders just because cutting a tree is move convenient for them. I want to thank the Officers who have worked to hard in bringing the prosecution. If you would like to undertake work on a tree under a Tree Preservation Order, please talk to our team first.”