A MAN has to pay more than £45,000 for cutting down trees in his garden that were protected by tree preservation orders.
Fareham Borough Council prosecuted Simon Woodhams after he illegally caused or permitted the cutting down, uprooting or wilful destruction of 24 trees at his property in Sarisbury Green.
Mr Woodhams was found guilty of the offences at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on November 7 and was fined £25,000.
He was also ordered to pay £20,000 in costs to the council, plus £300 in court surcharge.
Council officers had met at Mr Woodhams’ property in 2015 to discuss the management of the trees and development of the house.
An application was received by the council for permission to crown lift seven trees, reduce 17 trees, coppice one tree and fell 36 trees which was granted.
But when council officers visited Mr Woodhams’ property they found additional trees, over and above what had been permitted, had been removed.
An investigation found that 24 trees had been removed in breach of a tree preservation order.
Planning committee chairman Councillor Nick Walker, said: ‘This prosecution sends out a clear message that violating a tree preservation order has serious legal consequences.
‘Tree preservation orders are put in place to protect trees which are an important part of the local area.
Council officers had worked with Mr Woodhams to allow him to carry out some works to the trees but his actions far exceeded that.
Anyone planning tree work should contact the council for advice before doing anything.’
The News approached Mr Woodhams for a comment but received no response.