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Contractor fined after damage to protected trees

  • Planning, conservation and building control

A utility company contractor whose workers severed the roots of four protected trees has been fined £3,000 by magistrates.

Kelly Communications Ltd was ordered to pay the fine, £4,398 in costs and £120 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to four offences of contravening Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) during a hearing at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 6 December.

The prosecution was brought by Barnet Council’s Planning, Trees and Enforcement Team.

In March this year workers were digging a service trench for telecommunications cables when they damaged the root networks of two mature Oak trees, a Thorn tree and a Chestnut tree in and around Field Mead, Mill Hill.

Each of the trees was protected by a TPO. In accordance with the legislation the orders prohibit certain activities, including the cutting of roots, without permission from the local planning authority.

The larger of the trees are estimated to be over 100 years old.

Councillor Melvin Cohen, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “Our trees are a highly valued part of the borough’s character and Tree Preservation Orders are a very important way of safeguarding them from damage.

“This prosecution sends out a very clear message that anyone contravening one of these orders can expect to face action.”

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