Bracknell Forest Council has successfully prosecuted two homeowners and a tree surgeon for illegally cutting down a protected tree.
The Norway Maple tree, at a property in Great Hollands South, was protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
In July 2020, the tree surgeon, operating as Calibra Tree Surgeons Ltd, pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court to carrying out works to a protected tree contrary to Tree Preservation Order Number 656 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
They were all fined a total of £9,428.
The Council became aware of the unauthorised works last July.
Councillor John Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection said: “This court case highlights the importance the council attaches to protected trees which carry high amenity value, and that we will seek, where appropriate, to prosecute in cases of wilful breaches of tree preservation orders.
“We are fortunate in the borough to have some fantastic natural heritage and green spaces, and we are committed to preserving important environmental features such as protected trees, which makes the area so special for residents and visitors alike.”
The tree stood at approximately 60-feet tall and had a full crown of deep copper red foliage. It was located on a green verge outside the residents’ rear garden wall on their land.
The tree was protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which means that written consent must be obtained from the council to remove, prune (however minor) or undertake any other form of work to the tree, including any work affecting the tree’s roots.
Applicants need to set out the specific details of the proposed work and the reasons for wishing to do it.
As shown in the pictures above, the tree surgeons had cut off almost all of the branches and foliage, causing “significant damage to a once outwardly healthy tree”.