Fourteen mature trees illegally hacked down by a Measham business owner must be replanted, a court has ordered.
Stuart Andrews, the owner of Andrews Haulage in Swepstone Road, Measham, will also pay a £100 fine per tree after ignoring a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) that was in place to protect them.
Andrews pled guilty at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 16 May, but his defence claimed he was unaware that the trees were protected and that he had attempted to establish if this was the case but was unable to do so.
North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) was able to show that the information about the TPO was readily available and that it was passed to the planning agent who was acting on behalf of Mr Andrews as the developer.
The preservation order was originally in place from 1986 to protect a mixture of horse chestnut, sycamore and silver birch trees were at the time of being cut down approximately 40 years old and contributed to the visual screening of the industrial looking haulage yard in the countryside.
The court fined Andrews a total of £1,400 and ordered him to pay costs of £622.87 and a victim surcharge of £140. Fourteen new mature trees must also be replanted in place of those that were cut down.
Councillor Alison Smith MBE, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community Services at NWLDC, said: “There must be a balance between preserving the natural beauty of our district and helping businesses to grow and thrive. In this case information was clearly available to show that these 14 trees were protected and provided an important green screen between the business and the road.
“This case shows that people won’t get away with ignoring planning rules and chopping down trees as and when they please. Planning regulations are there for a reason and the council will take action against anyone who ignores them.”