Three Rivers Prosecutes Developer for Illegal Damage to Protected Trees

07th August 2019

Three Rivers District Council successfully prosecuted a developer resulting in an award of a fine and costs amounting to £7255 payable by the company for damaging a protected tree.

The Director of Rivergate Homes (Pine Cottage) Limited, Nicky Morrison, recently discovered this when he appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday 24 July 2019. Rivergate Homes (Pine Cottage) Limited was building houses on a plot in Quickley Rise Chorleywood, to lay utilities, when contractors excavated land close to the roots of a Beech tree causing damage.

The tree was protected, and no permission existed within the planning consents to permit the work. The works took place in an area that was fenced off to protect the rooting area of a mature Beech tree.

All trees within a designated Conservation Area and specific trees identified within Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) across the District are protected from any of the below  activities by law, and you breach them at your peril:

  • cutting down
  • topping
  • lopping
  • uprooting
  • wilful damage or destruction

of the trees on your land may be an offence for which you could be fined or imprisoned.

Cllr Phil Williams, Lead member of Environment Services and Sustainability, said: “I trust this sends out a clear message that violating a Tree Preservation Order has serious legal consequences. Criminal damage to the protected trees or environment is a serious offence and penalties will be incurred.”