Kirklees Council have secured the successful conviction of two companies and their directors for the felling of 39 protected trees and an area of saplings on the site of the former Earth’s Wood Caravan Park, Clayton West.
The offences, which were committed in May 2019, were in contravention of a Kirklees Council Tree Preservation Order which is covered under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
After initially pleading not guilty at Huddersfield Magistrate’s Court in March 2020, a trial date was set for 29 March 2021. Shortly before the trial went ahead, all parties changed their pleas to guilty. In total, including costs and charges, the court ordered that £15,796 be paid.
The owner of the land, Earthswood Country Park Limited of 213 Cromford Road, Langley Mill, Nottingham must pay £5,625. Directors of the company were also fined, with Mr Anthony Barney ordered to pay £4,044 and Mrs Donna Barney an amount of £1,267.
The contractor that felled the trees, Premier Tree Care and Conservation of Manor House Farm, Ashford Road, Laleham Village, Surrey was fined £4,125. Director of the company, Mr David Stephens was ordered to pay £708.
David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth and Regeneration said:
“It is important to understand the value of the woodland and the impact removing trees can have on our environment. The felling of these trees and saplings stripped away the woodland edge which adversely affected the woodland structure, wildlife habitats and public space that the Tree Preservation Order was in place to protect.”
He added “The result in court was a welcome one. We will work to ensure the landowner now fulfils their legal duty by replanting all 39 trees.”
Tree Preservation Orders are put into place by local authorities to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands where the loss of them would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public.
Anyone wishing to carry out work on trees, protected or not can find information by visiting: www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-and-development.aspx#trees-listing-and-conservation.