Monday, December 23, 2019

In UK Homeowner who damaged 90-year-old tree fined £60k

A HOMEOWNER who damaged a 90-year-old tree so badly it had to be felled has been fined more than £60,000.
Stephen Lawrence had made two applications to his council to fell the mature protected cedar, but both were refused by the council.
Despite warnings, he stripped the bark off the lower trunk, according to the council, and holes were drilled into the wood.
Chelmsford city council said the damage was so extensive it had to be felled — and took him to court.
Lawrence pleaded guilty to wilful damage to a protected tree at Basildon magistrates' court on December 12.
The defendant was initially fined £90,000, but this was reduced to £60,000 plus costs of £1,004.82 and a victim surcharge of £32, based on his early guilty plea.
Councillor Mike Mackrory, cabinet member for sustainable communities, said: ‘This is a significant fine which reflects the age and the value of the tree: to people in the local neighbourhood who enjoyed seeing it every day, to the flora and fauna who lived in it, and to the wider environment as trees like this are hugely important in absorbing carbon.
‘The sad thing is that at the point when the damage was first discovered, although the damage was extensive, the tree could still have survived.
‘It was the further attacks on it, after Mr Lawrence had been ordered to cease damaging it in the spring, which completely finished it off and meant that there was now no chance that this beautiful old tree could live.’

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