Prosecution leads to £20,000 fine for damaging trees in the Peak District National Park
Friday 9 December 2016
A Sheffield man has been prosecuted for removing and damaging trees in the Froggatt Conservation Area.
An area of 530 square metres (about a tenth of an acre) of woodland, including 16 mature trees and 9 young trees, was destroyed in September 2015.
Developer Mark Boulby purchased the plot, which lies in a belt of woodland below Froggatt Edge, in mid-September 2015 and two days later moved heavy machinery onto the site to clear the trees.
The illegal activity was reported to Peak District National Park tree conservation officers who investigated the case.
In September 2016, Boulby pleaded guilty to illegally cutting down and uprooting trees from woodland in the Conservation Area at Froggatt. He was convicted and fined on 6 December 2016.
Sheffield Magistrates Court imposed the fine of £20,000 and ordered Boulby to pay costs of over £5,000 to the National Park Authority.
In addition, Boulby is to restore the site to an agreed Restoration Plan by 31 July, 2017, and must not take heavy machinery onto the cleared area for five years to enable the land to regenerate.
John Scott, director of conservation and planning in the Peak District National Park, said: “This is the first time we have prosecuted a landowner for harming trees but the damage was so severe and deliberate it was our duty to pursue it.
“It’s a landmark victory and sends out a clear message that we do not tolerate the wilful destruction of protected trees and habitat in the National Park. Criminal damage to the environment is a serious offence and this case demonstrates that serious penalties can be incurred.
“Happily, this is an exception and as a rule we have an excellent track record of working with landowners to provide advice and agree positive management for trees and woodland.”
Trees are an important part of the National Park landscape, they contribute to the character of places, help improve air quality, conserve water, preserve soil and support wildlife.
More information about working on trees in the Peak District National Park is at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/treeworks.
People should always check before starting work on a tree or woodland to see if there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), find out if they are in a Conservation Area, or if any other legal protection is in place.
They can do this by contacting the National Park’s customer and business support team on 01629 816200 or email@example.com.
If there is a TPO no works can be done without written permission from the National Park Authority.
For trees within a Conservation Area people must apply for written permission six weeks before any work is undertaken. Failure to obtain consent can result in a court appearance and an unlimited fine.