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Hacking Oak Results In Firm's Big Fine

15 January 2009 Last Updated on 15 July 2009 Adam Owen

Reported in Evening Telegraph - - 28 November 2008

A FIRM which destroyed a protected tree without permission has been fined £4,500.  Developer Trafalgar House hacked pieces off the oak on its land in Chatham Court, Belper, in February.

This was despite the tree being subject to a preservation order because it was more than 100 years old.

Amber Valley Borough Council inspectors took legal action after investigating the damage. The company, of Prospect Place, Derby, was fined at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay £2,500 costs.

Council landscape officer Chris Beal, said: "Where unauthorised works are carried out to trees, we are at a considerable disadvantage because officers only see the end result; they do not know what condition the tree was in beforehand.

In this case, several neighbours came forward and provided witness evidence because they felt so aggrieved about the damage caused to the tree."

A council spokeswoman said that because of the work, the tree was "rendered useless as an amenity or something worth preserving".

Robert Brown, Trafalgar House managing director, pleaded guilty on behalf of his company to carrying out the unauthorised work.