New Forest NPA prosecutes landowner for destroying treesPUBLISHED ON: 4 AUGUST 2021
The New Forest National Park Authority has prosecuted a landowner for illegally cutting down several protected trees.
In early December 2020, 15 oak trees, one field maple tree and a group of hawthorn trees were felled on land south of the A336 at Bartley, which were protected because they were in a conservation area. Large fractures and splits were left in the trunks, and several other oaks had been marked with an ‘X’, suggesting that they were also going to be chopped down.
Known as Terry’s Patch, the site, between the junctions with Eadens Lane and Tatchbury Lane, has a long-standing woodland tree preservation order (TPO). It’s classified as a priority habitat of broadleaved deciduous woodland, with badgers, hedgehogs, at least six types of bat, and more than 25 protected bird species found in the area.
The Authority acted immediately and was successful in securing a High Court injunction to prevent further unauthorised felling.
Sufficient evidence was put together against the landowner who pleaded guilty in court on 30 July. The court issued a £2,000 fine, and the landowner was also ordered to pay the Authority’s costs.
Steve Avery, Director of Strategy and Planning at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The Authority will prosecute where there is enough evidence to support unauthorised tree removal and wanton destruction of protected trees – which are an important element of the special qualities and landscape character of the National Park.
‘We are disappointed that the fine was on the low side of the range available to the courts but it shows that we will pursue such unauthorised action. The next step will be to secure replacement planting to safeguard the long-term integrity and landscape character of the site.’