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A Bewdley man has been fined almost £3,000 after he had unauthorised works carried out to a protected tree. 

Richard Softley of Threlfall Drive, Bewdley pleaded guilty, at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, to contravening a tree preservation order. 

Nina Dorrell, prosecuting for Wyre Forest District Council told magistrates how Mr Softley had instructed tree surgeons to undertake significant works to a protected mature horse chestnut tree which is located in his neighbour’s garden. Horse Chestnut Leaves Web

The court heard Mr Softley had not gained prior permission from the council to have the work done despite knowing that the tree was protected by a tree preservation order.   The unauthorised works inflicted significant damage on the protected tree, and vitally important branches were removed leaving the tree unable to thrive.

Mr Softley was ordered by the court to pay almost £3,000.  This included a fine, compensation to his neighbour, victim surcharge and prosecution costs.

Councillor Ian Hardiman, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration said: “Tree preservation orders are put in place to protect trees for the public’s enjoyment. In general they make it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, willfully damage or willfully destroy a tree without the council’s permission. 

“We hope this case acts as a reminder to tree owners that they need to know if any preservation orders are in effect. If there are, then they need to apply for consent to carry out any work or they could find themselves in court. Regrettably trees that have taken generations to grow and have offered significant visual character to an area can be easily and irreversibly harmed.”

The case was heard on 23 September 2016


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Wyre Forest District Council