Tree surgeons are fully aware that there is a need for permission to work on some trees and that many trees carry a protected status. It is imperative that tree surgeons carry out research on what work they can do in certain areas before they begin but for a multitude of reasons, many tree surgeons decide against this action. However, this has led to many professionals being caught out and a story from Windsor reiterates how important it is that tree surgeons follow the letter of the law when cutting down trees.
This is because tree surgeons under the employment of Mark Knight cut down protected trees and this has led to a fine with payments of more than £20,000 being requested. The site was St Leonard’s Hill which is a historic woodland area in Windsor and the Royal Borough planning enforcement team acted after they received a tip-off about the work. This came from a member of the public which indicates that there is always someone watching and that there is always someone willing to raise complaints and ensure that wrong actions are punished.
Many old trees were felled
Some of the trees were felled include sycamore trees, willow trees and ash trees, with some of these trees being more than 60 years old. The criminal investigation was set up against Knight, his company Landmark Tree Surgeons and the person that owned the land where the trees were felled, Geoffrey Try.
In court, all three admitted to their actions which was cutting down trees which had been protected and this is contrary to the Tree Preservation Regulations. Sentencing took place at Reading Magistrates Court on Friday the 20th of July. The firm also admitted two other offences and they will return to Reading Magistrates Court for sentencing on these matters in September.
People are always watching the action of others
At the end of the case, Cllr Phill Bicknell, who is the cabinet member for highways, transport and Windsor, spoke to local media and said; “This is an excellent example of the quick work our officers can do with the help of residents and visitors reporting an issue as soon as they see it. Our borough is blessed with some wonderful outdoor spaces and we take our duty to protect our nature and heritage seriously. I hope the level of fine and the quick action of our planning enforcement team to prosecute these individuals sends a clear message to others that there are serious consequences for those who show no respect to our woodlands and the laws that protect them.”
One major punishment imposed on the firm, in addition to the financial penalties imposed on everyone is that the local council has removed the firm from the list of approved contractors. This could seriously harm the company in the long run when it comes to being selected for jobs and generating income. There could be serious long-term financial implications of these actions and the punishment will serve as a warning for other firms.