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Excessive Work Sees Tree Surgeon Fined

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Forestry and Woodland Management

If you are a tree surgeon or you have an interest in the industry, you know the importance of Tree Preservation Orders, or TPOs. However, it appears many professionals in the industry don’t pay attention to these orders or decide against following correct procedure. This can be seen in the continual fines and penalties imposed on tree surgeons who carry out work that is opposed by a TPO.

There are times when the work that has been carried out is completely against a TPO. There are also times when the work that has been carried out is deemed to be excessive. This was the story in Chelmsford Magistrates Court recently when two men were found guilty of “causing or permitting works to the two trees” without proper authorisation. The work has carried out in Abridge back in June of 2017 and there had been no authorisation provided by Epping Forest District Council.

The local council has problems with work carried out

While permission had been granted for a limited amount of work to be carried out, an investigation by inspectors found that the branches on the two trees had been cut back excessively. A statement provided by the local council said; “This ultimately caused serious damage to both trees and increases the risk of decay. No consent would have been given for the extent of the work carried out.”

There was a fine of £440 for each tree for March Wright and Danny Swift was fined £660 for each tree. Both men involved were ordered to make a contribution towards the prosecution costs incurred by the council, with this amounting to £600.

Tree surgeons often have different opinions

There will likely be a difference of opinion about the outcome of this case. After all, if the order was that no work should be carried out on the tree and work was carried out, this is a clear breach and there isn’t much if an argument to put forward by the accused parties. However, when it comes to an order when work is permitted, you can see why some people would struggle to know where to stop.

It may be that there was a clear definition of what work could and couldn’t be carried out, and if there was, it would be a simple case. However, these rulings are often quite vague and what one tree surgeon defines as being necessary, another tree surgeon may find to be excessive. A lot of tree surgeons have different opinions on the level of work that needs to be carried out to resolve a matter, and this is another cause for confusion and uncertainty.

There may be some people saying that the sums involved with the fine aren’t that high, and could have been worse, but for professionals, any fine can be harmful. This is certainly a sum of money that could cause major problems for a tree surgeon, and it should act as another reminder of the importance of having permission before carrying out work.

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